ChampOne, an unknown company, has listed a Rs. 501 smartphone called ChampOne C1 on its website, with registrations for the first flash scheduled for September 2 now open. Well, sort of.
After the listing went viral on Monday, the company updated its website to say "only existing customers are eligible for flash sale" - what that means for a company with no other products is anybody's guess. The website looks shady at best, and the registration button is inactive. The company has put out a disclaimer citing "payment gateway" difficulties, and says that registrations won't work for the next 24 hours. However, it says that the smartphone will be sold through the 'Cash On Delivery Option' so we don't see why they even need a payment gateway. Some reports point to a registration fee, which in itself seems fishy.
The Jodhpur-based company has listed a toll free number, and two other phone support numbers. All our calls went unanswered, while one of the numbers was switched off. ChampOne appears to be one of the numerous startups that have recently started sprouting up in India, looking to make headlines by launching smartphones at incredible prices.
The first amongst the spate of firms was Ringing Bells with its Freedom 251, and while the company is finally delivering its first smartphones, other firms appear to have fizzled out before launch. We advise all readers to stay away from deals that seem too good to be true from brand new companies without a service history or a reputation to lose.
In any case, the ChampOne C1 runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop and supports dual-SIM. It features a 5-inch HD (720x1280 pixels) IPS display, and is powered by a 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6735 quad-core processor with 2GB RAM. It offers 16GB of inbuilt storage. Optics include an 8-megapixel back camera, and a 5-megapixel front snapper. There's a 2500mAh battery packed inside, and connectivity options include 4G LTE support. It will be made available in White, Silver, and Gold colour options.
Of course, the glitching website reminds us of the horrible inefficiency by Ringing Bells when it first announced its smartphone. The company hadn't 'anticipated the demand' for its. Rs 251 smartphone, and is still struggling to meet demands. The company first claimed that it was backed by the government and was part of the Make in India campaign, only to retrace its footsteps and mention that it was importing assembled smartphones, and has asked the government for support. The company was also accused of defrauding its customer service partner by refusing to pay dues. After too many delays, the company even tried to make amends by saying that it will refund the money of first phase's 30,000 Freedom 251 customers - and will accept cash upon delivery.
Another company that made headlines recently for what were found to be fraudulent tactics was mPhone, which was all set to announce its smartphone portfoliio in the country. However, those plans came to a grinding halt, after the co-founders were arrested at the launch venue for alleged fraudulent activities. The company was set to launch six smartphones in the country ranging from Rs. 11,999 to Rs. 39,999, but we haven't heard of anything post their arrest.
Also, let's not forget the Docoss X1 launched by a Jaipur-based company for Rs. 888. Their website itself was extremely fishy, with many technical goof-ups. Their customer care support also proved to be very vague. The smartphone was to begin shipping in May, but it still hasn't managed to do that yet. The website currently mentions that the smartphone will be shipped soon.