Yet, like its predecessor Freedom 251, Docoss X1 has raised suspicions of being yet another scam by an unknown company to make some quick money. After a high-profile launch in February and receiving over 73.5 million bookings, Freedom 251 makers’ claims soon unravelled into charges of fraud and financial irregularities.

Like Freedom 251’s parent company Ringing Bells,

Docoss X1 is being manufactured by a relatively new and unknown company from Jaipur

Docoss X1 is being manufactured by a relatively new and unknown company from Jaipur. This is also its first phone, with no mention of any other product in the portfolio. Instead of off-the-shelf sales, customers can only pre-book the phone on its website and via SMS until Apr. 29 with the option of cash-on-delivery. The company also claims to deliver the smartphone from May 2.

While the Docoss website has been crashing due to heavy traffic, several buyers have complained that its customer care numbers weren’t working either. Calls made to the company’s phone number mentioned on the website also went unanswered.

Apart from 3G support, the dual-SIM smartphone has hardware that’s at least three years old. The Docoss X1 has a 4-inch IPS display, a 2-megapixel rear camera, VGA front camera, and a 1,300 mAh battery. It runs on Android KitKat 4.4, and is powered by a 1.3GHz Cortex-A7 dual core processor and 1GB RAM. It also has 4GB internal storage, which can be increased to 32GB with a microSD card.

The interest generated by Freedom 251 and Docoss X1 indicates the immense demand for low-budget smartphones in India. The country is the world’s second-largest and one of its fastest-growing smartphone markets, but with a large customer base with low purchasing power. This is where it becomes easy for companies like Ringing Bells and Docoss Multimedia to lure unsuspecting customers with low-end devices.

The troubles faced by Docoss have echoes of Freedom 251. The $3 smartphone had raised doubts over its low pricing, even though it had specifications and components that were considerably more than its selling price. Its website faced recurrent glitches after heavy traffic, and the handset prototypes revealed during its launch were from another Indian company Adcom, covered with white paint. Adcom later revealed that it had sold the handsets to Ringing Bells at Rs 3,600 ($54).

Ringing Bells was soon facing allegations of fraud. The company is currently embroiled in trial over charges of cheating, placing misleading advertisements and collecting money through a ponzi scheme. This is in addition to a government investigation over breaching the Foreign Exchange Management Act.

Amidst growing criticism, the company announced that it would refund the entire Rs 840 million collected from pre-bookings and opt for cash-on-delivery instead. The smartphones are yet to be delivered.

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