There’s a saying even though it isn’t 100% valid – “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”. Any publicity is good for the person, or company in this particular topic, because they are getting well noticed by people who were unaware of them. “Ringing Bells” as a name of a smartphone brand was not heard of, or very rarely heard about. They are suddenly into the scene so much that some very sensitive topics of politics too were ignored for hours to highlight the smartphone brand that launched a smartphone at Rs. 251. Yes, the low three-digit number at which you can order a phone.
But there ends the true story. “You can order” too isn’t a very true statement, since the major number of buyers weren’t able to order the phone from the company’s website where the device was said to be put up on sale at 6:00 a.m. today. This isn’t a soft launch where you don’t actually see the phone in anyone’s hand but only press releases pushed to the media. Here, it was an event held in New Delhi with some politicians too attending it. So, you know that Ringing Bells is actually launching a phone.
“Make in India or Made in India” – Wrongly assumed
The fun fact is that the phone isn’t something Made in India. You cannot blame the sellers for the tag, since they didn’t claim they are going to sell products that are made in India, but they just added a point that they are going to support Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India campaign, but people are easily pulled towards statements like those, thinking that the device will be made in India. If it was that easy, won’t the well established brands do so already?
Scratch away the whitener – It isn’t Ringing any bells!
I wasn’t there at the launch event, but can well trust my friends who are into the same tech stuff. One of them noticed a whitener on the top of the phone, just above the display. He scratched it and noticed an “Adcom” logo. Adcom is a virtual manufacturer of smartphones in India, and it brings in products from China. There you go! What’s Ringing Bells doing here? Re-re-branding a re-branded phone?
Does it get linked to the Indian govt.?
Early into the news when the phone was teased, a bunch of fans of the running govt. spread the news that it is Indian government who is giving subsidies to the company and thus, we are seeing this unrealistic price. The truth is that the Indian govt. is no where related to the company, and it isn’t offering any subsidies. Earlier it was the govt. representative who confirmed this, and now Ringing Bells’ Director also confirmed the same.
Ok, many brands are now rebranding phones and selling them. Why is Ringing Bells targeted so badly?
Some very important points for the consumers to keep in mind if they think that most of us are against the company’s move of selling a phone at Rs. 251. Frankly, if this was real, we’d have very happily supported it and would have given it a boost by letting everyone know why you should buy one. But, the facts here are as follows.
- The Adcom Ikon 4 smartphone is what is being sold as Freedom 251. Though the Ikon 4 is priced at around Rs. 4000, the actual BOM price (Bill of Materials) comes to around Rs. 2600. After some compromises, according to a member of Parliament of India, the cost could go down to only Rs. 2000.
- Even Ringing Bells probably wasn’t sure about the look of the phone. The Facebook page of the company had a different image from what the website has.
- 4 months delivery time: Another point that strongly suggests one to think against purchasing the phone. Do you think this is Kickstarter or Indiegogo or some other crowdsourcing website where there are teams verifying what’s actually happening, and then helping with the refunds if the project fails? Here, it is the company that is taking your money directly. Think about this once, since this is a small amount (equivalent to 1GB 3G data on most Indian mobile networks), you’d probably not care about refunds months later even if the company fails to ship the device to you. Many might not remember about it if they had thought to buy this only as a trial phone since it is cheap.
- An unsecured and broken website: Try entering the quantity of units as 0.5 and you see the phone price changed from Rs. 251 to Rs. 125.5. Seriously? would we get only the screen and outer case without battery and internal components? Also, the website is open for users to access several back-end pages. Would a company thinking seriously about selling phones won’t care about the security of the user data, especially when there are financial transactions happening?
One thing is for sure. Ringing Bells got more publicity than it had expected? Only with an unrealistic pricing that seemed real for many though. Even if the phone isn’t shipping right away. If it really gets sent to people after the long wait of four months, the company has my respect for whatever they did to bring the price to that low (even if they thought of going into losses to get attention). People are expecting this to be shipped because they saw some politicians at the launch event, making things a bit realistic. But if not, I’m not surprised if people got scammed by this.