A little-known Indian company is launching the cheapest smartphone in the world today. The Freedom 251, manufactured by Ringing Bells, is priced at just Rs 251 (under $4). Affordable and feature-rich, it could play a significant role in connecting India, where smartphone usage and Internet connectivity still remain a work in progress.
The Freedom 251 has a 4-inch display, 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, and a 1,450 mAh battery. It comes with a 3.2-megapixel rear camera and a 0.3-megapixel front camera. The phone also comes with 8GB of internal storage, which can be expanded by another 32GB using a microSD card.
Surprisingly for its price, the Freedom 251 will run on Android Lollipop 5.1 and comes pre-installed with several apps. Besides Facebook, YouTube, Google Play and WhatsApp, it has apps that will be useful to farmers, fishermen and women, such as Swachh Bharat, Farmer, Medical and Women Safety.
Founded in 2015, Ringing Bells has launched four smartphones until now, including a 4G phone priced at Rs 2,999 ($44). It says that the phone has been developed with the support of the government's Make in India campaign that encourages local manufacturing. It still remains to be seen how the phone is so cheap, and whether it has been subsidised by the government.
Ringing Bells has said that the phone comes with a one-year warranty and be serviced at over 650 centres across the country. Bookings for the Freedom 251 open on Feb. 18 at 6 a.m. and close on Feb. 21 at 8 p.m., with the deliveries being completed by June 30.
The launch is significant for India, the second-largest smartphone market in the world after China, and the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world.
Imagine that happening here.
"I got $10; I'm gonna go to the dollar store to pick up some chips, bread, and a smartphone. Want anything?"