The continued advances in technology have transformed smartphones into commodities, and as companies continue to wage the price war, the market is coming dangerously close to a point where a company might do the unthinkable to stand out: sell products at lower than cost price and pray the gamble pays off with astronomical sales figures.
That is the situation a startup from India will find itself in when it begins shipping the world’s cheapest smartphone for $4 (251 rupees) this week. At that price, you’re basically just paying for the cardboard box that will presumably house the device.
Unveiled in February as a preorder without a definite ship date, the aptly named Ringing Bells Freedom 251 will be sent out to customers starting June 30, the Indian Express reports. Ringing Bells founder and chief executive Mohit Goel described it as a “true testimony of success” for the government’s Make in India campaign, which aims to transform one of the world’s biggest economies into a global manufacturing hub. Certainly, a lot has been said about the smartphone, and some of them have been deeply critical of its unprecedented pricing.
How can any company compete with a $4 smartphone? And why would anyone consider selling anything way lower than the market’s expectation? There has to be a catch, right?
Sure, there might be a thing or two that will stick out like a sore thumb, but given the cost, we’d be more worried about the phone’s availability than anything else at this point.
Ringing Bell’s preorder site has attracted over 70 million buyers, causing the website to crash. The company promises to ship 200,000 units each month from here on out, so we probably don’t need to say how long customers will have to wait to receive their deliveries. Let’s just say the math is overwhelmingly against Goel and his people.
Specs-wise, you’re staring at a 4-inch, 960 x 540 screen, a quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage, 3- and 8-megapixel front and rear cameras, a 1,800mAh battery, and Android 5.1 Lollipop — all of which are impressive for a phone that’s cheaper than the average movie ticket.
Source: The Indian Express