New Delhi: When a mobile user is asked why he/she needs a phone, the answer always is - ‘I just want a device to make phone calls plus it should have decent battery to sustain all-day and stuff like that.' But, in reality, we want a lot more than that – a decent camera, good processing speed, compatibility with multiple apps and much more, which is eventually bound to increase the price of the phone. In other words, the cost of the cheapest device would be around Rs 1,200.
Ringing Bells yesterday launched Freedom 251, an ultra low-cost pricing mobile, which has created a massive buzz across the country with extensive advertising. But the question is whether the smartphone will be able to live-up to the expectations and become a success or will the history repeat itself and it will meet with the fate of Tata Nano and the Aakash tablet?
The last time something like this happened with a product announcement was with that of Tata Nano. We very well know the Nano - made and sold in India, initially launched with a price tag of Rs 1,00,000. If we have a look at the records, only the first few customers were able to purchase the car at that price. It did sell like hot cakes but then lost stream. Later, the Nano Gen X which took two years for development also did not do so well. So will the same thing happen as we are coming across so many questions which are still unanswered?
Also, we all very well remember Aakash tablet, also known as Datawind Ubislate 7+, which was promoted by the Indian government to provide college students with affordable computing and internet-browsing. The tablet was launched in 2011 and was sold at a price of under Rs 3,000. DataWind had failed to timely deliver the Aakash ablet, and couldn't cope up with the massive demand nationwide. The project, before closing last year, also decreased the price of the device and was made available to students across the country at a price of under Rs 2,500.
Now the only question that comes to mind is, how does Ringing Bell make a 3G smart-phone for just Rs 251? According to a report by Hindustan times, the smart-phone is actually priced at Rs 2,500. But the company plans to recover that cost by a “raft of measures like economies of scale, innovative marketing, reduction in duties and creating an ecommerce marketplace”, said the report.
However the industry body ICA has already pointed out that smart-phone with such set of specifications will not cost less than Rs 3500. The body has also urged the telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to take a look into the matter.
Also now the pre order has been paused and Ringing Bells hasn't revealed how many buyers have successfully been able to book a handset. Despite the booking window opening at 6:00AM today, many faced an issue, wherein hitting on the Pay Now button would take you back to the main page or a blank page.
So, with all these controversies around, does the Freedom 251 has the potential to significantly improve the lifestyle of people in the country with a low income? It will be really interesting to see whether or not Ringing Bells is able to manufacture and sell world's cheapest smart-phone at a large scale.
The question is – will Freedom 251 come true to the expectations or it will meet the fate of Nano car and Aakash tablet? Only time will tell.