Indian company 'Ringing Bells' to open preorders for sub $5 smartphone tomorrow

Ringing Bells, a company based in India, will launch the world's cheapest smartphone tomorrow, February 18. It will cost just 251 rupees, or the equivalent of $3.67/£2.56/€3.29. Initially the company had claimed that the Freedom 251 would cost "under 500 rupees."

You may be wondering what you could possibly get for such a pittance, but the specs are rather impressive for its price, and are as follows:

  • 4-inch qHD IPS display
  • 3.2 MP rear and 0.3 MP front camera
  • 3G connectivity
  • 1.3 GHz quad-core CPU
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8 GB internal storage (expandable up to 32GB)
  • 1450 mAh battery
  • Android 5.1

India is the world's second-largest mobile market and has a reach of one billion mobile phone subscribers; the Freedom 251 will enter a market already dominated by low-cost phones.

A spokesperson for the company told the AFP news agency: "This is our flagship model and we think it will bring a revolution in the industry." At present, the firm imports the parts needed to build the phone from overseas and assembles them locally, but that the company plans to make its phones domestically within a year, she added.

The Freedom 251 also falls inline with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for “empowering India to the last person, transforming India’s growth story”, the Noida-based company said.

Ringing Bells was set up at the end of 2015 and recently launched one of India's cheapest 4G smartphones the Smart 101 at 2,999 rupees; the Freedom 251 can be preordered here starting at 6am local Indian (IST) time on Feb 18.

If the above appears too good to be true, then you may want to check out a report by the Hindustan Times that raises questions about the handset apparently borrowing design cues from the iPhone, and possibly not even achieving the required certification by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), which if true, could put a spanner in the works for the world's cheapest smartphone.

Perhaps the most unusual issue raised about the new device is that the review units sent to media look nothing at all like the device shown on the company's website. NDTV's Gadgets 360 noted that the actual handset bears a striking similarity to the existing Adcom Ikon 4, and as the Hindustan Times noted (and as can be seen in the image above), the demo devices have the Adcom logo painted over.

Source: BBC & The Indian Express | Top images via Freedom 251

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