Four dollar phone

Four dollar phone DEFAULT


Brand ‎Adcom Manufacturer ‎Adcom, , [email protected] Model ‎IKON4 Package Dimensions ‎ x x cm; Grams Item model number ‎IKON4 RAM Size ‎1 GB Memory Storage Capacity ‎32 GB Memory Slots Available ‎32 GB Flash Memory Installed Size ‎8 GB Card Reader ‎MicroSD Operating System ‎Android Processor Brand ‎Apple Processor Speed ‎ GHz Tuner Technology ‎FM Resolution ‎ x Special Features ‎ Inch Screen, Connectivity:3G,WiFi,Bluetooth,GPS,USB, Rear Camera: 5 MP with flash, Battery Capacity: mAh, Front Camera : 2 MP, Memory: RAM 1 GB,Internal 8 GB Mounting Hardware ‎Handset :: Battery::Charger::USB Cable::Headset::User Manual Number Of Items ‎1 Display Technology ‎LCD Standing screen display size ‎4 Inches Resolution ‎SD (p) Optical Sensor Resolution ‎5 MP Battery Description ‎Lithium-Ion Batteries Included ‎No Batteries Required ‎No Battery Cell Composition ‎Lithium Ion Battery Power Rating ‎ Milliamp Hours Cellular Technology ‎3G Connector Type ‎Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3g Form Factor ‎Touchscreen Manufacturer ‎Adcom Imported By ‎Advantage Computers India Pvt Ltd. Item Weight ‎ g

Last month, an India-based mobile manufacturing company named Ringing Bells announced a series of ultra-low budget, domestically-produced mobile handsets. These new phones included India’s cheapest 4G smartphone at ₹ ($) and a 3G model dubbed Freedom priced at a jaw-droppingly low ₹ ($).

The phone’s February 18th launch made headlines across the world and featured high-profile guests. According to one report, the company claimed 30, pre-orders on the first day of sales, forcing them to suspend orders.

The market for budget smartphones in India is massive: though the per capita income is just under $1,, this year India is projected to overtake the United States in smartphone purchases. Currently, the market is dominated by a few major players: Samsung, Micromax, and Intex. Using manufacturing facilities in China, companies like Micromax and Intex produce hardware replicas of iPhones, Samsung Galaxys, and HTC Ones, trying their best to provide specifications that keep up with the current global standards. These efforts include Micromax’s $34 3G enabled phone and Intex’s HTC-inspired model for just $

But until now, no one had tried to market a phone for less than $4. What’s it like to use a $4 smartphone? I decided to investigate. From the start, something about the Freedom didn’t seem right: though the expected delivery date is set at June , it was almost impossible to obtain a review unit after the big reveal. I reached out to Ringing Bells’ media relations team to get one and was repeatedly stonewalled.

Then, reports surfaced indicating that the review units that were made available weren’t actually Freedom s. They were Adcom Ikon 4s, a $61 handset developed by a Delhi based company, and manufactured in Chinese, and Taiwanese units, and currently available in the market.

Amidst the confusion, reports of fraud surfaced. India’s Income Tax Department paid the company’s head office —which was shut down earlier this month— a visit. Since their initial announcement, the Ringing Bells’ website has listed all of its phones, including the Freedom as unavailable for immediate sale, and their social media channels are flooded with unhappy customer comments. All their phones have reached pre-order limits according the communication on their website. Customer support is unavailable, and after failing to get in touch with company representatives over phone and email, it is difficult to understand whether Ringing Bells is still a functioning company. The enforcement directorate has ordered an investigation into Ringing Bells possible breach of the Foreign Exchange Management Act.

Ringing Bells has admitted to purchasing demo handsets from Adcom and dressing them up as Freedom s to give the press an idea of what their eventual product would look like. But there’s no way Ringing Bells could build a phone comparable to the Ikon 4: a breakdown of the phone’s parts reveals it would cost roughly ₹ ($) to build. Adcom, along with everyone else, was dumbfounded by Ringing Bells’ logic; the company has threatened to seek damages against Ringing Bells for dragging its company, and brand name, into this mess.

Adwait Patil

Eventually I did get my hands on one of the Adcom Ikon 4s, shabbily repackaged as the Freedom While booting up, it pops up a rather optimistic screen that has the Hindi line ‘your dreams will come true,’ written in English. The inside panel and battery were taped over with Freedom branding, and the Indian flag was printed across the back panel. In the week I used it, the phone held up pretty well, maintaining a solid 3G connection and functioning about as well as I could expect a $60 smartphone to. The hardware and software are clearly iPhone inspired, though this is most certainly an Android device. The single button design and low resolution icons aside, the basic functions of the phone (scrolling through browsers and apps, mobile gameplay, and calling) worked well considering a combination of its GHz quad core processor, 1GB RAM, and 8GB internal memory. Oddly, the Ikon 4s uses a standard size SIM, unlike the more common micro- or nano-SIMs most modern smartphones use. It’s two distinct deficits were the almost useless megapixel camera, and the headphone jack that offered audio so poor it’d make you dislike even your favorite musician. Its touch response when texting, and split-second delays in between switching and closing apps further justified its low retail price. But let’s be clear: this was an Ikon 4, not a Freedom

Recently, Ringing Bells has started refunding customers who’ve pre-ordered the phone amid backlash. But the whole debacle raises two important questions: can current technologies really meet India’s hunger for dirt-cheap technology; and why do regulatory bodies not have measures to curb such fraudulent companies?

The Freedom isn’t the country’s first budget tech disaster. India’s recently launched a government plan to provide schools with Indian-built Android tablets that would be the cheapest in the world. But the country failed to deliver devices on payment, and consumers filed court complaints. Later it was discovered that the tablets that were delivered were held together using electrical tape.

It is projected that the number of internet mobile users in India will cross the million mark by As this number increases daily, the Telecom Authority’s (TRAI) benchmark for broadband Internet is set at kbps. This compared to the Federal Communications Commission standard, seems outdated, and a clear indication on the disparity between India’s and global Internet standards.

The Freedom , in principle, isn't actually a bad idea. An affordable entry level smartphone could work either as your entry into this segment, or a two-day replacement in between smashing your old iPhone screen and ordering the new Nexus handset. And Ringing Bells isn’t alone in its endeavors: even Google has launched programs (with various levels of success) geared toward providing first-time smartphone adopters with quality hardware and software experiences at remarkably low prices.

Over the last decade, smartphone prices in India have tumbled from a few hundred dollars to as low as $ In India, you can buy a fully functional smartphone for as low as $34, and that’s a good thing. But for now, a $4 phone is just smoke and mirrors.

Update, PM, March 18th: An earlier version of this article claimed that India's Defense Minister attended the Ringing Bells launch event. The Minister was scheduled to be there, but ended up not attending. The article has been updated with the correct information.

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Four Dollar Phone

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Is there a 4 cell phone in india?

But for now, a $4 phone is just smoke and mirrors. Update, PM, March 18th: An earlier version of this article claimed that India's Defense Minister attended the Ringing Bells launch event.

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Man behind India's $4 smartphone arrested for fraud

Micromax works to improve India's connectivity

The man who made headlines a year ago with his promise of a $4 smartphone has been arrested on suspicion of fraud.

Mohit Goel, the founding director of Indian phone manufacturer Ringing Bells, was arrested on Thursday in the northern city of Ghaziabad, Indian police said.

One of the company's distributors, Ayam Enterprises, has accused Goel and four associates of cheating them out of million rupees ($24,).

Akshay Malhotra, proprietor of Ayam Enterprises, told CNNMoney that he paid Ringing Bells 3 million rupees ($45,) in February for phones and accessories. He says his company received products worth only , rupees ($6,), many of them of inferior quality.

Malhotra said when he demanded a refund, he received just one million rupees ($15,).

Related: Apple is set to start making iPhones in India

Malhotra said Goel resorted to intimidation when asked for the rest of the money.

"When we called them to ask for our money back and to end our association with them, he said he didn't have the money," he said. "He threatened that something will go wrong if we don't wait quietly."

Goel is scheduled to appear in court on Friday, according to Ghaziabad's deputy superintendent of police, Manish Mishra. The search for the other four suspects is still underway.

Ringing Bells launched its Freedom smartphone last year to great fanfare. The phone was priced at just rupees ($), a deal many industry experts said at the time was too good to be true. One analyst said the company would lose $26 for every device it sold.

Related: How Micromax took the fight to Apple and Samsung

Ringing Bells could not be reached for comment, and the company's website was down on Friday.

Goel, who reportedly stepped down as managing director in December, did not respond to multiple requests for comment but told the Hindustan Times newspaper that he had promised to pay several distributors back by Mar. 31 this year. He said he found the accusations against him "surprising."

But the executive's troubles may only just be beginning. Another distributor has filed a similar complaint with police, while several more are starting to jump on the bandwagon.

"Calls are coming in and victims are coming forward," Mishra said. "We currently have complaints that they defrauded various distributors of a total of 4 million rupees ($60,) but I suspect the actual amount is double."

CNNMoney (New Delhi) First published February 24, AM ET


Phone four dollar

Why the $4 smartphone is even more bonkers than you could imagine

How much did you spend on your last smartphone? Even if you wanted a cheaper option than a flagship phone, I expect it was more than US$4.

But that's what Indian manufacturer Ringing Bells is doing – it has created a smartphone that you can buy for only US$4 (about £3, AU$5). You may ask how a company can afford to do this - the answer is it's taking a US$2 hit on every phone it makes.

The Freedom comes with a 4-inch x display, a GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, a MP rear camera and a selfie shooter. That's not the worst spec list I have ever seen and from photos of the device it's a good looking phone.

According to CNET, a Ringing Bells executive said each Freedom costs US$20 to make. The company has then partnered with a number of software companies to preinstall apps on the device and bring the cost down to US$6 a unit.

By selling them for the equivalent of US$4 each, that means the company is losing US$2 on every sale. That already feels like a strange business model, but the more I've dived into Ringing Bells and the world's cheapest ever smartphone, the more I've learnt.

When the phone was officially announced, Ringing Bells revealed its device to the press in a hands-on section. Some eagle-eyed reviewers pointed out a strange white material at the top of the device which, when removed, according to Android Authority, showed the Freedom was in fact a disguised Adcom Ikon 4.

Strange disguises

That's a Chinese competitor phone that would usually ship for US$ Adcom haven't taken legal action, but the company has officially revealed it did not realise it's devices were being used in this way.

Then in March this year, Ringing Bells was put under official police investigation under Section of IPC and the IT Act. That essentially means cheating and the police are interested in how the company is selling the phone for such a low price.

The company has been open with the police and is cooperating, but since March there hasn't been an update on the progress of the investigation.

On July 7, Ringing Bells GM Anmol Goel told the Indian Express, "We may deliver more units if we get help or we may not deliver at all in the upcoming months."

That help Goel mentioned is a strange thing. Mohit Goel has now written a letter to the Indian Prime Minister's office– dated June 28 – that asks to meet the PM to ask for the equivalent of US$ billion.

That's right… this small phone manufacturer is asking its government for US$ billion - more than the GDP of Niger, Gibraltar, the Isle of Man or Malawi.

Just US$ billion

The letter requesting the money reads, "We have brought 'Freedom ' which we offer on 'Cash on Delivery' terms but we have a gap between the BOM (Bill of Materials) and the Selling Price.

"We, therefore, humble [sic] request government support to actualise the objective to cascade the availability and usage of smartphones all through the far reaches of our great nation."

Ringing Bells would like to put a phone in the hands of everyone across India – that's no mean feat with a population of over billion - so it makes sense the company needs that much money.

Goel wants to connect this with the Digital India campaign, launched for the Indian PM last year with the aim of making the country more digitally empowered by increasing digital literacy and increased internet usage.

Ringing Bells has now claimed it wouldn't even need the US$ billion itself though. Instead Goel has said he's happy for the government to give the project to another manufacturer.

"The government can make the phone - under our Freedom brand - from some other vendor. I have no objection to it. To make such phone for every Indian citizen, the government needs to allocate funds from its Digital India initiative", Goel said.

Larger causes

The skeptical amongst the tech community have speculated the Freedom has been a publicity stunt all along.

Ringing Bells has announced a number of new, more expensive phones that cost quite a bit more than US$4, and it's easy to see how people feel it may have been used to garner press for more expensive devices.

The new line-up, announced on the day the Freedom began shipping, includes four feature phones, two Android smartphones, an LED TV and a number of power banks.

These devices are much more appropriately priced with the Elegance Android phone priced at about US$60 (£45, AU$80) while the Elegant smartphone costs about US$65 (£50, AU$90).

According to Goel's comments, the Freedom may be dead before it's even properly released as well. His quote was, "We may deliver more units if we get help or we may not deliver at all in the upcoming months."

When the phone was initially announced over seven million people registered to buy the phone before the payment gateway crashed after three days. Ringing Bells then promised to ship million units by the end of June.

A few months later, Goel then told the Indian Express it couldn't meet the insane demand and would ship , units instead. That then dropped down to 30, and now it's only shipping 5, units.

Goel claims it may not even release more than the 5, units despite over seven million people being interested in the device.

TechRadar has tried to contact Ringing Bells on the points raised in this article, but so far we have yet to receive a response.

People around the world have now heard about the Freedom smartphone as the cheapest device in the world - and even if it was a publicity stunt all along, this has made for one of the most fascinating stories in the tech world for quite some time.

I just can't wait for it to get inevitably even weirder.

James is Phones Editor for TechRadar and covers all the big announcements from the best manufacturers making mobile phones, tablets and wearables. Based in London, James is often testing out the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, VR headsets and - when he can be motivated to go outside - fitness bands. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all the latest from the mobile world.

The 5 Dollar Phone Is REAL

What's inside a $4 smartphone?

Indian company Ringing Bells is getting ready to start shipping its $4 Freedom smartphone. But how much smartphone can you build for the price of a cup of coffee?

See also: Chromebooks are the new "it just works" platform

Well, first off, the controversial $4 smartphone isn't really a $4 smartphone. Yes, Ringing Bells is selling it for rupees (a little under $4), but according to the Times of India, the company has struck deals with a number of software firms to place their apps on the phone in order to draw in revenue.

And despite this deal, the company claims that it has to swallow a loss of about rupees (about $) per unit, which it hopes that the Indian government will pick up.

So a $4 smartphone is not a $4. In fact, the spec is awfully similar to the Adcom Ikon 4 (which was the handset that Ringing Bells used as a prototype, after covering the name with Wite-Out).

The Adcom Ikon 4 is priced at around $ That's still cheap, but a long shot away from the $4.

So, assuming that buyers get their smartphone for the promised $4, what are they actually getting?

Here are the tech specs:

  • 4-inch x pixel qHD IPS display
  • GHz quad-core processor MediaTek CPU with Mali GPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8 GB storage (with microSD card slot)
  • MP rear camera with LED flash
  • MP front camera
  • mAh Li-Ion battery
  • Twin-SIM
  • Android Lollipop

The spec is not all that impressive - a handset like the iPhone 5 beats it pretty much across the board - but still, if it ships for a $4 then it's a darn good deal. It's also a testament to how rapidly the technology landscape moves rapidly, and how rapidly component prices fall, given that when the iPhone 5 first shipped in , the display alone cost $

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That $4 smartphone is sketchy as hell

Earlier this week, Indian smartphone maker Ringing Bells unveiled their record-setting Freedom , an Android device that had some astounding specs for its unbelievable $ price tag (Rs. ). There was so much fervor over the device’s release that Times of India described the rush for pre-orders as “breaking the internet.” Now that people are actually getting their hands on the device, however, the whole thing is looking pretty damn sketchy. Right out of the box, you know something’s not right when your new phone has a blob of Wite-Out cleverly concealing the name of the device’s actual manufacturer.

That’s right: the Freedom is actually the Adcom Ikon 4, an entry-level Chinese smartphone. Not only is this a scam, but it’s one where the scam artist isn’t even trying! What’s more, the device looks nothing like the smartphone advertised on Ringing Bells’ website.

Fortunately, Ringing Bells noticed the discrepancy and made the appropriate changes. Not to the phone, of course, but to their website.

Via Ars Technica.

There! Much better.

This raises some interesting questions, seeing as the Adcom Ikon 4 normally retails for $54 dollars. How Ringing Bells is making any money selling these devices at 1/14th of that figure is anyone’s guess. And that’s not even taking into consideration the cost of Wite-Out.

The $4 smartphone Freedom will run Lollipop (update)

The mysteries keep coming, however, because when you boot up the device, you’ll discover a familiar sight… if you’ve ever been an iPhone user. Although the Freedom /Adcom Ikon 4 runs Android Lollipop, for some reason most of the icons have been ripped directly from iOS. Hell, the browser icon is just straight up the Safari logo.

Photo by Gadgets

Adcom says that they had no idea their branding and products were being used for this and that they are beginning to investigate the matter. In the meantime, Ringing Bells is telling journalists not to worry, and that the device they’ve received is “just a preview version.” Oh, that explains everything then.

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