We can hear most of you saying “C’mon give me a break, not again.’ Here comes another dirt-cheap smartphone (Does it Ring a Bell?) from a company no one has ever heard about. The company’s name this time is Docoss, and when I went to the company’s site www.docoss.com, it worked, but when I clicked to know who is behind such an outrageous venture, I could not find it as the ‘About Us’ never worked. Going by other news reports, this company is based in Jaipur and that’s it.
But the chances are the ultra low cost smartphone they have launched may or may not work. It’s called X1 and does have impressive specs. Its got a 4 inch IPS display, 2MP rear and 0.3MP camera, 4GB storage and option to have a 32GB Micro SD Card, 1GB RAM. Its 3G and dual SIM. The OS is Android Kit Kat. So if you are really impressed with specs you can go ahead and pre-order your phone at the company’s site or use an SMS option.
Scam or Reality?
In February of this year, Ringing Bells garnered global attention with its Freedom 251 Smartphone priced at just about Rs 251. (Read Ringing Bells launches world’s cheapest Smartphone at Rs 251). The site crashed on the launch day unable to take pre-orders and it was later discovered during the launch that the company’s ‘Make in India’ smartphone was not really made in house but manufactured by another feature phone company called Advantage Computers (Adcom). So Ringing Bells sourced large quantities of Adcom phones for Rs 3,600 and rebranded it as Freedom 215. This might be probably the most perplexing business model ever. The company then claimed it was just the launch samples and that it will be shipping its own phones to consumers who have pre-ordered it. Reports initially suggested that Adcom has initiated legal action against Ringing Bells but one needs more clarity on that.
In the case of Docoss X1, it is to be seen how ethical it is in terms of honoring the bookings and the integrity of the product and whether it meets all mobile phone compliance standards. For instance industry bodies like Indian Cellular Association (ICA) have debunked these low cost smartphone initiatives and has openly said that it is not possible to make a 3G smartphone at such a low cost – even the bare minimal estimate of key components like display, processors et al will come to Rs 2000 and above. So in that case, these low cost smartphones have a clear disadvantage when it comes to long-term usability and even pose undue radiation exposure to users.
The Government must act to check the safety standards/business practices
Clearly, there seems to be a lot of unfair trade practices that are being followed by these unknown companies. The government must step in to make sure that these phones really meet all quality processes and if they claim that it was manufactured in India, then the kind of manufacturing facilities they have must be known and investigated.
Lets look at what makes for a good quality mobile phone. According to GSMA citing WHO recommendations, it says that WHO has identified the ICNIRP and the IEEE as two international bodies that have developed standards based on detailed assessments of the available scientific evidence. Compliance for mobile phones and other wireless devices intended for close use ( with exposure to head or body) is based on satisfying a specified Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) limit, stated in units of watts per kilogram (W/kg). The international limit applicable to mobile devices and used in most countries is 2 W/kg measured in a mass of 10 g. The GSMA has produced an infographic showing the status of the effective radio frequency exposure limits applicable to mobile phones and similar devices.
Clearly, making a smartphone is not that easy and what we are seeing in cheap smartphones is that they are kind of crudely assembled phones ( remember assembled PCs) and most likely the electronics is sourced out of digital junkyards in China or Taiwan and use cheap assembly methods and put in a impressive case and give a fancy name and play around with peoples curiosity.
This perception can be debunked only when these companies come out with a white paper on how they are able to procure components and be able to make smartphones at such a cheap rate.
What do you think of dirt-cheap smartphones? Would you buy X1? Have your say. Let’s hear your comments.