Noida-based startup Ringing Bells announced in February to make Freedom 251 smartphone for Rs 251, less than $4. Ringing Bells got over 6 Crore of Registrations, and got famous over night in India without any advertisements. A lot of controversies soon surrounded the startup with the smartphone industry unanimously declaring that the Freedom 251 is impossible and is just a publicity gimmick.
But, the Real problems started after this. Ministers, Telecom Regulatory Authorities, Income Tax and other Government Departments started going tough on Ringing Bells, to avoid any Scam.
The funniest part of the launch was, The Demo Handsets kept at launch and given to journalists. All were ADCOM Branded, another Indian company involved in Smartphone Business since 2002.
Later it was discovered that the Freedom 251 is actually Adcom Ikon 4. Ringing Bells had simply concealed Adcom’s branding on the review devices with white ink and two layers of plastic screen guards. Also, on the back of the device, it had covered Adcom’s branding with a sticker of the Indian flag, suggesting it is linked to government’s Make In India programme.
Ringing Bells justified its actions by calling it a prototype device and claimed that the final Freedom 251 version would be similar
Sanjeev Bhatia, founder and chairman, Advantage Computers (ADCOM) have already take the tough stand against Ringing Bells :
We would like to underline few facts pertaining to case, as this scam exhibits the potential of maligning our brand name ADCOM which is our trademark since 2001. It is true that, although we sold the handsets to Ringing Bells earlier, like we sell ADCOM mobiles to lakhs of users, we were absolutely unaware of the reselling plans of the company in question.
But again, No one speak directly regarding the pricing policy of Freedom 251, except few Government Policies, Reason may be if ADCOM speaks about pricing, they will have to reveal the original price of the Smartphone, which may be negative for the Business.
But, On the other side Ringing Bells is still confident, Though they have already apologized that the first Units supplied will not be made in India.
While speculation is rife regarding the legitimacy of our occupying the premises we operate from, i.e. our Corporate Office at B-44, Sector 63, NOIDA 201301 in Uttar Pradesh, we wish to make it clear that the current dispute regarding the nature of business conducted at the property is between NOIDA authority and our landlord. It is our humble request not to drag us in any controversy.