The $4 smartphone story has hit the wall with Ringing Bells issuing refunds to customers who pre-ordered and the discovery of what the Freedom 251 smartphone really is.
Last month a $4 smartphone made headlines around the world. The Freedom 251 smartphone offered by Ringing Bell launched in India for about $4. The pre-order was swamped with customers wanting to get their hands on a dirt cheap smartphone. The servers failed, but eventually the company closed the pre-sale claiming the inventory is sold.
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Now reports surfaced that forced the company to offer refunds to customers who pre ordered. Earlier this month reports surfaced that the Freedom 251 is actually a rebranded Adcom smartphone. Indian Economic Times reports on March 5 that the Adcom sold about 1,000 of their smartphones to Ringing Bells for 3,600 Rs, which is about 1,100 Rs more than Ringing Bells sold them for.
Adcom is an Indian electronics maker founded in 1997. The company makes tablets, smartphones and computer accessories.
Ringing Bells claims that the Adcom phones are not for the market and just got bought for demonstrations. Why 1,000 units would be necessary for that is unclear. The Verge's Adwait Patil got his hands on a Freedom 251 branded phone that is also carrying the Adcom brand.
The device is actually quite decent matching what can be offered for about $54, Adcom is charging in bulk orders. It would an incredible device at $4, but that will likely stay wishful thinking.
Ringing Bells is still claiming that the $4 Freedom 251 is real. The company offers now "Cash on Delivery." When and how Ringing Bells will deliver the $4 smartphone is unclear. There are reports that an investor would subsidize the Freedom 251.
For now the $4 smartphone is fiction. The Adcom device is real and Lewis over at Unbox Therapy recently posted video review of the phone. The specifications of the Adcom Ikon 4 include 1.3Ghz 4-core CPU, 1GB RAM, 8GB Storage, 3.2MP camera, dual-SIM and Android 5.1.
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