In the event you are one of those who pre-booked the world's most affordable smartphone at Rs 251 (less than $4) and is yet to hear from its Noida-based manufacturers, you're not alone. The promise of delivering "nearly 200,000 Freedom 251 handsets" has fallen flat and most people who reserved the handset are yet to see one.
No new numbers are also shared it seems the initial hoopla has fizzled out. Is this the largest technology disappointment of 2016, despite Freedom 251 making global and national headlines throughout the year?
In an earlier interview with IANS, Ringing Bells CEO Mohit Goel said in case the government was prepared to dole out Rs 50,000 crore (about $7.5 billion), he can ensure that 750 million of our citizenry would become part of digital India by possessing a smartphone at Rs 251. "The authorities can make the mobile - under our Freedom brand - from some other vendor. I have no objection to it. To make such cellphone for every Indian citizen, the government needs to allocate funds from its Digital India initiative," Goel had said.
When reached, a Ring Bells representative told IANS the business is working on enhancing its reach through distributor networks but didn't say a word about the disappearance of Freedom 251. "Last six months have been extraordinary as we've reached 200 cities with a provider network of 230. In this interval, we've been in a position to widen our product base, including high-end cellular telephones and TVs.
By Parv Sharma, a research associate at New Delhi-based Counterpoint Research, Freedom 251 raised false expectations in individuals about having a low-cost smartphone.