After a huge controversy and even a FIR being lodged, Freedom 251 mobile, world's cheapest smartphone, priced at Rs 251 (less than $4) is here, and that deliveries will start from June 30 according to its makers, the Noida-based startup Ringing Bells.
After a huge controversy and even a FIR being lodged, Freedom 251 mobile, world’s cheapest smartphone, priced at Rs 251 (less than $4) is here, and Noida-based startup Ringing Bells says that deliveries will start from June 30. The company said that it has made this possible despite allegations from various quarters that Freedom 251 mobile scheme was a scam and it would not ever see the light of the day.
Ringing Bells launched Freedom 251 mobile in February in the presence of veteran BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi. The company also maintains that the device had been developed “with immense support” from the government.
According to Ringing Bells Founder and CEO Mohit Goel, he is facing a loss of Rs 140-Rs 150 per unit, but hopes to make profit on volumes. “We will have a loss, but I am happy that the dream of connecting rural and poor Indians as part of the ‘Digital India’ and ‘Make in India’ initiatives has been fulfilled with ‘Freedom 251’,” Goel said.
“Our devices are completely ‘Make in India’ and were manufactured at our Haridwar-based manufacturing unit. We plan to sell two lakh devices every month,” he said.
According to Goel, the company has been able to keep its promise to consumers. “We are ready with nearly two lakh ‘Freedom 251′ handsets,” Goel said, adding that once he is done with this first phase of delivery (of two lakh phones), he will open registration again for those who wish to buy the handset.
Ringing Bells had in mid-February this year planned to deliver 25 lakh handsets before June 30. However, it received over seven crore registrations before its payment gateway crashed within three days.
“We learned from our mistakes and decided to go silent till we come out with the product. Now we have a 4-inch, dual-SIM phone ready for delivery. I feel vindicated,” he said in one breath.
The 3G device has a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal memory and supports external memory cards of up to 32GB. No device was, however, given to IANS. Only a photograph was allowed to be taken.
The company has offered an 8MP primary camera with flash, a 3.2MP front camera for selfie and a 1,800 mAh battery. It runs on Android 5.1 (Lollipop).
The phone is available in two colours — black and white — with centrally aligned rear camera and branding on the back panel. It has a speaker just alongside the branding.
The device displays the Indian Tricolour when you switch it on. The company has incorporated all the basic Google apps in the handset.
It distributed some “prototypes” of the product to the media which turned out to be handsets from another domestic handset maker Adcom.
“Our humble beginning to provide a high-tech gadget that will benefit all in the hinterland and bridge the huge gap that clearly exists between the metros and semi-urban/rural areas is in keeping with the government’s initiatives,” Ringing Bells President Ashok Chadha had earlier said.
Doubts were raised over Ringing Bells’ handset after some experts said no phone could be manufactured for less than Rs 2,000.