Earlier today we received the unprecedented news of a phone lunch happening tomorrow, 17 February. This launch is unlike any of the staggering number of launches that typically occupies the bulk of a technology journalist’s time–the smartphone, being launched by a relatively unknown company called Ringing Bells, is allegedly being priced at Rs 500.
That’s right–five hundreds. The kind of money most people have in their wallets or purses at any given time.
So never mind the fact that this number belies all rational logic of any component listing resulting in a bill of materials that low. The real question is: what’s the endgame of this company?
Believe it or not, Indian company to launch a Rs 500 smartphone
Is this rock-bottom price just a marketing and publicity stunt on the part of the company? Or will this price be applicable to only a small subset of launch devices? On the face of it, things to appear to be fishy, but Ringing Bells Pvt Ltd appears to be a legit company, as evidenced by their presence on the websites of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. A bit of digging revealed that the company was incorporated on 16 September 2015–precisely 5 months ago–and has three directors: Mohit Kumar Goel, Sushma Devi and Rajesh Kumar.
The promoter family happens to be from Western UP and have been–for the past three generations–in the business of agricultural commodity products such as dry fruits sugar, spices, rice, pulses and the like. With no heritage of technology, and specifically cellular products, it’s intriguing to note that the company is adopting such a radical strategy in the sale of their upcoming product.
The company claims to already have 300 direct and 2,000 indirect employees with plans to grow in the short term to meet market demands. The company partners with external testing facilities which looks into pre-dispatch inspection, quality control and post delivery service.
Ringing Bells currently features four devices on their website comprising two feature phones, one smartphone and one power bank. The phones are sold directly on the website, although these are available in spurts owing to their adopting the flash sale model. The smartphone currently on their website is a 4G unit, priced at Rs 2,999. Although the impending launch of their Rs 500 smartphone will completely trump anything currently available, at least on price.