Ringing Bells Freedom 251, the world’s cheapest smartphone was launched on Wednesday at Rs 251 ($5). The smartphone was unveiled by senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi at a glitzy, wedding-like event in Nehru Park, New Delhi.
The Freedom 251 at just Rs 251 promises exceptional features on paper. The smartphone is 3G-enabled and features a 4-inch WVGA resolution display. It is powered by a 1.3 Ghz quad-core processor coupled with 1GB RAM, 8GB total storage space and sports a 3.2 megapixel camera on the back. It will have 0.3 megapixel camera on the front and has a 1450 mAh battery.
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While this could revolutionise the smartphone scenario in India and prove to be a worthy competitor to dozens of companies in the market, things are not that simple. The smartphone maker may claim Freedom 251 to be ‘Made in India’ device but its price do ring some bells.
Indian Cellular Association president Pankaj Mohindroo said “this pricing is not possible under any circumstances, even if the components are made in India.” He said the bill of material of a product like this is around $40. While the association expects there to be a “marginal effect on market sentiment” as “consumers may hold back purchases”, “this will have no impact on a profound campaign like Make in India”.
The Noida-based company Ringing Bells said that all deliveries will take 4 months to complete and it claims to do so by June. Ringing Bells is selling their device through a special website called http://www.freedom251.com. Also, the company is charging Rs 40 extra as delivery charges, which sums up the price of Freedom 251 to Rs 291 (with delivery charges). The smartphone is only available online and bookings will close on 21 February at 8.00 pm.
Customers have however reported that the website kept crashing, and they were unable to complete payment for the Freedom 251 smartphone. The website crashed in the afternoon yesterday as the company claims to have received 6 lac hits per second. The website’s homepage read, “Dear friends, we are very grateful for your enormous response and your kind patronage and would submit that as of now we received approx. 6 Lacs hits per second as a result of your kind overwhelming response, servers are over loaded.” It is however back and open for registrations.