The news round-up this past Wednesday included a link about Freedom 251, an Android phone on sale in India for 251 INR, the equivalent of $3.65 USD at today’s rates. Unbelievably, for that $3.65 you get a removable battery, micro SD slot and dual 3G SIM-unlocked support. Perhaps more believably, you also get a 4 inch 960 x 540 pixel screen with a 3.2 megapixel rear camera.
Here’s where things start to get weird: Hardware-wise Freedom 251 looks a lot like another Indian handset, the Ikon 4 by Chinese company Adcom. In fact, review units sent to the Indian tech press had an Adcom logo covered up with correction fluid. Yet the company behind Freedom 251 insists that their product is 100% “Made in India”.
And things continue to get weird.
This was actually not the phone shown on the company’s website when the story broke worldwide. On February 17th, the day I read about it on Android Police, Freedom251.com looked like this:
The very next day later the site featured an entirely different device:
And if you thought this new device looked a bit familiar, you’d be on to something. Here’s what the Hindustan Times had to say about their review unit:
The model we received looks closer to an iPhone, complete with a round home button. Most built-in app icons on the Freedom 251 are a direct copy of icons on Apple’s iPhone. Even the web browser app is a rip-off of Apple’s Safari browser that only exists on iPhones, iPads and the Mac.
Hindustan Times reached out to Chinese phone-maker Adcom; no one there had ever even heard of Freedom 251. Adcom’s Ikon 4 retails for 3,599 INR. How is Freedom 251 able to sell it for less than a tenth of that price?
Maybe they’ve a bulk deal on correction fluid…?