Docoss X1 smartphone launched at Rs 888 : Could it be another Freedom 251 in the making?

The Docoss X1 looks like another Freedom 251 in the making. We examine the facts to see if this is true.


Docoss Multimedia Pvt. Ltd. is a company that's become quite popular since Wednesday. Like Ringing Bells, the company is claiming to offer a 3G-ready, 4-inch smartphone for under Rs 1,000. Unlike Ringing Bells and its Freedom 251 however, the company is offering to take pre-orders on 29 April and ship the phones just 4 days later, on 2 May.

If you look at the specifications of the device and compare it to the Freedom 251, you will notice that they're largely similar. You get a slightly lower resolution screen and rear camera on the X1, but it makes up for it by offering dual-SIM support. At 4GB, the internal storage is also very lower than on the Freedom 251, but you do get a microSD slot.

Freedom 251 Docoss X1
Display 4.0 inch IPS 4.0 inch IPS
Resolution 960x540 800x480
RAM 1GB 1GB
Processor 1.3GHz dual-core 1.3GHz dual-core
Storage 8GB 4GB
Camera (F/R) 3MP / 0.3MP 2MP / 0.3MP
OS Android 5.1 Android 4.4
Battery 1450mAh 1300mAh
SIM Single (3G) Dual (3G+2G)

We're pointing out the specs because we want to examine the Bill of Materials (BoM) and since the two devices are largely similar, we can expect the BoM to be in the same ball park.

In an earlier story, we spoke to Vijay R. K., GM – Technology, Operations, Pre-sales at Sakri Group, who mentioned that a more typical BoM of a phone like the Freedom 251 would run to Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,500. This doesn't include tax, shipping and handling and other such extras. But he did add that economies of scale and Make in India would eventually push prices down to the Rs 1,000 range.

What this means is that Docoss will need to find a way of shaving upwards of Rs 1,000 from just the cost of manufacturing each device if they hope to sell it at Rs 888.

Ringing Bells claimed to be relying on economies of scale and "Make in India" policies to bring the cost of the Freedom 251 below Rs 1000. They also claimed to be reliant on "outside investors" to supply the Rs 200 – 500 crores that they'd need to bring the cost down to Rs 251 per device—assuming they're actually going to sell 50 lakh devices by June, which they claim they will.

In theory, it's possible that Docoss has managed to bring the price of the device down to below Rs 888. Considering that they're planning to accept pre-orders on April 29 and ship by May 2 however, we don't see how they've taken advantage of economies of scale unless they already have thousands of units in stock and are prepared to ship at the drop of a hat. If the folks behind the Docoss X1 did indeed put this much thought into planning the launch, it's disturbing to see how unprepared they actually are.

Docoss has not had an extensive advertising campaign, the first ads appeared in papers on April 27 and even the domain wasn't registered till a little before 3PM on the same day. The website, docoss.co, couldn't be accessed and none of the 15 listed call-centre numbers that we tried seemed to work. The website does seem to be live today, though we can't seem to be able to place an order for the device just yet. Even the company was only registered March.

Giving Docoss Multimedia Pvt Ltd the benefit of doubt, I think we can say that it's actually is possible to sell and ship a smartphone like the X1 at Rs 888.

However, considering that they plan to do all of that in just 4 days with no apparent preparation, something certainly does indeed smell very fishy.

We've reached out to industry experts for comment and will update the story as and when something happens.


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