$4 smartphone launched in India

Feb 17, 2016 - 11:01pm AST

While most of us are shelling out hundreds on phones like the iPhone 6S or Nexus 6P, there’s a phone now on sale in India for just a bit under US $4.

The Freedom 251 sells for just 251 Indian Rupees, or about US $3.6 and features basic specs such as a 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB of internal memory (with up to 32GB external via an SD Card), a 3.2MP camera and a 0.3MP front-facing cam for those selfies.

It also has a reasonable 4-inch 960p IPC LCD display. Depending on how often you use it, you may need to charge it pretty often as it only has a 1450mAh battery. There is also dual-SIM card support for those who use multiple networks.

Surprisingly enough, the device runs on Android 5.1 (which is a very decent iteration of the Android platform) and features basic apps like the the Play Store, Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, and a few other localized apps promoting women’s safety, environmental awareness, and health, among a few others.

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At just under $4, it’s difficult to understand how producing a phone with those specs is so dirt cheap, but Ringing Bells, the startup behind this smartphone initiative, appears to be have gotten some assistance from the government allowing them to sell the 251 for just 251 rupees.

According to their website, they are interested in bringing tech to rural parts of India as a relatively cheap rate. Their vision reads as follows:

“Empower citizens, even in the remotest rural and semi-urban centres of India, with the latest in digital technology at incredible affordable prices…”

Unfortunately, unless you live in India, you won’t be able to purchase this phone. It also looks like new customers won’t be able to enjoy their new phone in a day or two (like those who buy in from the Play or Apple Store) as the estimated delivery time is about 4 months according to their purchase page.

The phone is only available for purchase for a limited time going on sale today from 6AM (Indian time) and closes on the 21st of February at 8PM. From my experience buying a Nexus 4 and 5 from the Play Store, I assume there won’t even be enough units to last beyond a day of sales.

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