Considered a luxury not too long ago, smartphones have reached a point that they can now be considered a commodity. But on Wednesday, things will reach a whole new level.
Ringing Bells, a little-know Noida-based Company ‘with immense support’ from the India government is about to launch what is most certainly the world’s cheapest smartphone. The “Freedom 251” costs, yes, just Rs. 251, and will be available to buy on the company’s website Freedom 251 from 6am on February 18 and close at 8pm on February 21.
Is there a catch? We don’t know yet. But here’s what you need to know about the Freedom 251:
- Display: 4-inch qHD (960x540p) IPS screen
- Processor: 1.3GHz MediaTek quad-core
- OS: Android Lollipop 5.1 OS
- RAM: 1GB that can easily run WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter
- Storage: 8GB internal memory which can be expanded to 32GB with a micro SD card
- Front Camera: 0.3-megapixel
- Rear Camera: 3.2-megapixel with auto-focus
- Resolution: 540×960 pixels
- Battery capacity: 1450mAh, which won’t last you all day
- Dual-SIM support
- Supports 3G for lightning-fast web browsing.
- A 1-year warranty on the phone backed by their 650 service centers across the country.
- 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, Fisherman, Medical and Women Safety.
How is the Freedom 251 so cheap? We don’t know yet, but our best guess is that it is somehow subsidized by the Central government as part of the Make in India, Digital India and Skill India initiatives – it already has a few government apps pre-loaded.
Ringing Bells says that the smartphone is in line with India Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to connect every Indian and enrich their lives. The company also asserts that its smartphone is built to meet the goals of Make in India, the government’s project to entice multinational as well as domestic players to manufacturer their products in India. In the last few months, global smartphone makers, including the likes of Xiaomi, Motorola and Gionee have commenced assembling their handsets in India. The Freedom 251 will be officially unveiled in New Delhi and the event will be attended by Murli Manohar Joshi, MP, with the Union Defense minister Manohar Parrikar as the chief guest on Wednesday.
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. Affordable and feature-rich, the Freedom 251 could play a significant role in connecting India, where smartphone usage and Internet connectivity still remain a work in progress. It will be interesting to see whether or not Ringing Bells is able to manufacture and sell this device at a large scale. Founded in 2015, Ringing Bells made headlines earlier this month when it launched the Smart 101, a 4G capable smartphone at a price point of Rs. 2,999.
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. I’m going to be up early on February 18 ordering my device – or half a dozen of them.