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We all know how much excited and surprised we were when Ringing Bells Pvt Ltd said that they had launched the world's cheapest smartphone in India the "Freedom 251". This case had gone viral all around.
While it was priced at just Rs. 251, there was a huge demand for the phone and as a matter of fact, and many had pre-booked the phone.
However, if you belong to those who pre-booked the smartphone and haven't got any response from its Noida-based makers, you are definitely not alone. It seems the promise that the company had made of delivering "nearly 200,000 Freedom 251 handsets" seems to have just faded away and has become a history where people have even forgotten about it.
While the company had announced that it had delivered 5,000 Freedom 251 smartphones in July, Ringing Bells Pvt Ltd had further said that it would deliver 65,000 more to those who had booked the device in cash on delivery (COD) mode.
What happened after that? Did those people receive the smartphones?
Well, as of now, no new numbers have been shared and it appears the initial hype has completely fizzled out. Interestingly, the company seems to have entered other ventures such as making TVs and other smartphones while crushing the Freedom 251 dream.
Biggest Tech Disappointment of 2016
Despite Freedom 251's attractive package and how it got popularity in a short span, can we consider it as the biggest tech disappointment of 2016?
Faisal Kawoosa, Principal Analyst (Telecoms) at CyberMedia Research (CMR) has made a statement saying that the news of Freedom 251 could have been called as the biggest disappointment only if there had been great expectations attached to it.
He further added that every educated person or those having a fair understanding of technology, doubted it while some booked the smartphone just out of curiosity.
Freedom 251 Disappearance
When the news for registration was announced, Ringing Bells had received over 70 million registrations before its payment gateway crashed. What's more, the company in mid-February this year had planned to deliver 2.5 million handsets before June 30.
So, it seems that company has failed on its part and this could be looked at as one of the biggest cheats in the digital age.
After approaching Ringing Bells on the matter, the spokesperson has told IANS that the company was working on improving its reach through distributor networks but did not say a word about Freedom 251's current status or it's disappearance.
The Miracle Device
Ringing Bells CEO, Mohit Goel, had also told earlier that if the government was willing to dole out Rs 50,000 crore (about $7.5 billion), the company could help the 750 million people to become part of digital India by owning a smartphone at Rs 251.
However, according to Parv Sharma, Research Associate at New Delhi-based Counterpoint Research, Freedom 251 raised false hopes in the people about owning a cheap smartphone.
He further added that Freedom 251 had failed to meet the demands of the consumers and the company had to cancel the pre-orders and refund the money to consumers.
Nonetheless, the world's cheapest phone had once made a huge splash across the globe, appearing in every media house writing as the "miracle device".
While we were hoping that this launch could improve our country's image, as everyone was talking about it. It just happened to go in the opposite direction, the long delay has badly tarnished our image globally.
Moreover, this will be a setback for the government also which is pushing the 'Digital India' and 'Make in India' initiatives.
As far as we are concerned, the government should start imposing stricter controls over propositions like Freedom 251, so that the people are not given false hopes and promises. The consumers should be protected.