Cheap iPhone imitation? A copyright lawsuit waiting to happen? Charlotte Ward investigates the world’s cheapest phone.

Written by Charlotte Ward
Third year Environmental Science BSc
Images by LUCKY TIME YouTube

The Indian company “Ringing Bells” have launched the “world’s cheapest phone”. After being on sale for only five days, their website crashed from the number of visitors, and I could not help but wonder what is so great about this new phone?

This new smartphone with 3G capabilities, named “Freedom 251”, was sold for just £2.50 (251 rupees) per handset. By the looks of it, it rather resembles an iPhone, but, at £2.50, it does not even come close to the prices of the newest iPhone and Androids on the market.

Surely it must be too good to be true? According to their website, the phone offers a 3.2 megapixel camera with 0.3 megapixel front camera, 4-inch display, 1.3 GHz Quadcore Processor, Android Lollipop 5.1 operating system and 145 mAh battery. Not bad for £2.50 if you can work out what all the technology jargon means, although this leaves us with the question of why the phone can be sold so cheaply.

'...there is a general feeling that it is only a matter of time before they are swimming in violations of intellectual property rights.'

Numerous technology websites seem to suggest that in order to build an iPhone or something similar, it would cost at least between £140-200, taking into consideration the metal components but excluding the costs of distribution and marketing. The world’s cheapest phone also seems to resemble the Apple iOS rather too well and there is a general feeling that it is only a matter of time before they are swimming in violations of intellectual property rights. In addition to this, it seems to be coming to light that this Freedom 251 phone is simply another phone in disguise. Adcom, a Chinese company, previously sold an equally cheap iPhone look-alike, and some report that the Freedom 251 has corrector fluid covering up the obvious Adcom logo.

Despite the thrifty student in me thinking, “finally a phone I can afford!”, it may be the case that a little more thought should be taken into the production, social and environmental costs and implications of such a cheap phone. Unfortunately, it is now too late to purchase this new Freedom 251, but with a clear competition arising to be the “World’s Cheapest Phone”, it wouldn’t be crazy to predict a new one in the wings.