freedom251Remember that $4 Freedom 251 smartphone from India we mentioned a few days ago? Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader was highly suspicious of it, and if this further news is correct, it turns out that he was right to be. Indian Express reports on Indian Bharatiya Janata Party parliament member Kirit Somaiya further investigating the company and declaring it a “Ponzi bogus company scam.” Engadget goes into further detail.

Twitter user @Joydas obtained one of the phones and posted photos showing that white-out had been used to hide the logo of the Chinese OEM that manufactured it, so it could be sold under the guise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” campaign.

Meanwhile, the manufacturer has stopped taking new orders for the phone.

This isn’t the first super-cheap computing device from India to be declared vaporware. Back in 2007, in reaction to the $100 OLPC XO-1 project (which they felt still cost too much), an Indian government ministry announced plans to make a laptop for the unbelievable price of $10 (though total costs were estimated at $47 at that point). In 2008, it was announced that it would start at $100, instead. In January 2009, they announced that it would definitely be $10 again (though at that point it was costing them $20)…then in April, 2009, India ordered 250,000 of those “too expensive” XO-1s instead.

But given that a $10 smartphone has been available in America, it didn’t seem so far outside the realm of possibility that a $4 one could be available in India. However, it turns out apparently not to be the case—at least, not yet.

(Found via BoingBoing.)


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