A new smartphone from India, called the Freedom 251, will cost just $4 and is scheduled to be released on June 30th.
Produced by Ringing Bells, an Indian company, the phone will be a long way behind the latest Apple and Samsung offerings, but should be a workable smartphone. A batch of 200,000 is due to be shipped on Wednesday.
Customers who pre-ordered the phone back in February will be paying just $3.70 for the privilege of owning the budget smartphone.
It has a 4-inch 960 x 540 screen, 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, 8 GB of expandable memory, RAM will be 1 GB, a rear facing 8-megapixel camera and a front facing one (the selfie cam) with 3.2-megapixels.
The budget smartphone will run Android 5.1 Lollipop out of the box.
Due to the difficulties with such a project, many people thought the whole thing was just a scam. Some thought the phone would be nothing more than a re-branding of the Adcom Ikon 4, a Chinese smartphone which retails at $54.
With a $4 price tag, industry experts were quick to point out that the constituent parts would cost more than the phone.
There were also allegations of plagiarism as the icons for various apps are suspiciously similar to the iOS apps on iPhones and iPads.
Will make a loss on every handset
The company, Ringing Bells, has admitted that they are taking a loss for every unit of the Freedom 251 that it sells. The founder and CEO, Mohit Goel, said when talking to the Indian Express, “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.”
It is an interesting move, selling a phone for a loss. We can only assume that they have some other streams of revenue planned to keep the start-up afloat, as analysts have suggested that at their planned distribution rate they will be losing around $450,000 a month
While the power of the device is well down on current smartphones, (even lower mid-range phones will pack a larger punch), it has pointed out that the Freedom 251 is actually more powerful than the first iPhone, released in 2007 and came at a less accessible price of $599.