Noida based firm Ringing Bells, announced on Thursday that the Freedom 251, the Rs 251 smartphone will go out for delivery starting Friday. At a press event in the capital the firm also unveiled a 31.5-inch HD LED TV, four feature phones, three smartphones and three power banks at an event in the capital.
The company then unveiled its 31.5-inch Freedom HD LED TV priced at Rs 9,900 which it said will start selling from August 15 this year.
Also unveiled were four new feature phones - Ringing Bells Hit (Rs. 699), Ringing Bells King (Rs. 899), Ringing Bells Boss (Rs. 999), and Ringing Bells Raja (Rs. 1,099) and the three power banks are - RB Power (4000mAh, Rs. 399), RB Power Plus (5500mAh, Rs. 499), RB Smart (8000mAh, Rs. 699).
The event started off with a stunt where a person from the company started a fun quiz format to keep the audience engaged till the time the stage was ready. The exercise was also to lighten the mood of the conference as the company had a lot of explanations to offer.
The conference began with Mohit Goel, the managing director of the company, taking the stage and claiming that the Freedom 251 dream had come true. He unveiled the improved device and clarified the future about the company.
“Finally the day is here when we can say that we are giving away first 5,000 of 2.5 lakh phones that we promised we would deliver. Our dream is to put phones in the hands of 75 crore Indians and right now smartphone or phone penetration in India is very low,” Goel said adding that the company had approached the Prime Minister seeking aid to fulfil the Freedom 251 dream.
However, Goel did not clarify what kind of aid the company was seeking from the government. Ashok Chadha, who is also another promoter of the company, later said that it was not looking for any kind of financial help but in other areas.
Goel later also clarified that delivery of the first batch would start from July 8 and the people who will receive the phones were decided by a lucky draw. He also clarified that he was taking in investments from distributors and manufacturers to keep the company afloat.
“We have not taken a penny from people which is illegal. Our distributors and our assembly partner have invested Rs 80 crore in the company,” Goel said adding that distributors had invested Rs 40 crores and the assembly partner the rest along with Goel’s own assets which are mortgaged with Oriental Bank of Commerce.
Explaining further, Goel raised his voice over the conundrum to say that investors were finding Ringing Bells products very popular and hence they were putting money in the company. He added that his biggest distributor has pumped in Rs 10 crore and distributor strength has improved from 120 to 280 in four months.
Asked about Make-in-India, Goel said that all devices were being made in Haridwar and the company was looking at coming up with its own facilities in Noida and Uttarakhand but that could be very far away considering the business model of the company.
Ringing Bells had earlier said that it would start shipping its Freedom 251 devices from July 8 but Mohit clarified that only 5,000 units will be delivered in the first lot and said that delivery of the second lot would start at the end of July.
The company had in mid-February this year planned to deliver 25 lakh handsets before June 30. However, it received over seven crore registrations before its payment gateway crashed within three days.“We learned from our mistakes and decided to go silent till we come out with the product. Now we have a 4-inch, dual-SIM phone ready for delivery. I feel vindicated,” he had said.
According to Goel, he is facing a loss of Rs 140-Rs 150 per handset, for which parts were imported from Taiwan, but hopes to make profit on volumes. The 3G device has a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal memory and supports external memory cards of up to 32GB.
The company has offered an 8MP primary camera with flash, a 3.2MP front camera for selfie and a 1,800 mAh battery. It runs on Android 5.1 (Lollipop).
The phone is available in two colours -- black and white -- with centrally aligned rear camera and branding on the back panel.