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That $4 smartphone is sketchy as hell

You know something’s not right when your new Freedom 251 has a blob of Wite-Out cleverly concealing the name of the device’s actual manufacturer.

Published onFebruary 19, 2016

Photo by Vishal Mathur

Earlier this week, Indian smartphone maker Ringing Bells unveiled their record-setting Freedom 251, an Android device that had some astounding specs for its unbelievable $3.64 price tag (Rs. 251). 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.

Photo by Vishal Mathur
Photo by Vishal Mathur

That’s right: the Freedom 251 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.

Via Ars Technica

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

Via Ars Technica
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 251 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 251/Adcom Ikon 4 runs Android 5.1 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 360
Photo by Gadgets 360

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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