The delivery of the world’s cheapest smartphone at Rs 251 (less than $4) will finally begin from July 6, and not June 30 as was announced earlier, its makers said on Wednesday, adding that they are trying to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi for garnering his support under the Make in India initiative.
According to Ringing Bells’ Founder and CEO Mohit Goel, they are ready with nearly two lakh ‘Freedom 251’ handsets.
“In the meanwhile, we have prepared a letter requesting a meeting with our Prime Minister to pitch our case as a domestic smartphone maker which wishes to contribute towards ‘Make in India’ initiative,” Goel told IANS.
“We are planning to organise a launch event in the capital on July 7, a day after starting the delivery,” Goel added.
In an earlier interview to IANS, Goel had announced June 30 the date for delivery, adding that once he is done with this first phase of delivery (of two lakh phones), he will open registration again for those who wish to buy the handset.
The company had in mid-February this year planned to deliver 25 lakh handsets before June 30. However, it received over seven crore registrations before its payment gateway crashed within three days.
“We learned from our mistakes and decided to go silent till we come out with the product. Now we have a 4-inch, dual-SIM phone ready for delivery. I feel vindicated,” he had told IANS.
According to Goel, he is facing a loss of Rs 140-Rs 150 per handset, for which parts were imported from Taiwan, but hopes to make profit on volumes.
“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’,” Goel said.
The 3G device has a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal memory and supports external memory cards of up to 32GB. No device was, however, given to IANS. Only a photograph was allowed to be taken.
The company has offered an 8MP primary camera with flash, a 3.2MP front camera for selfie and a 1,800 mAh battery. It runs on Android 5.1 (Lollipop).
The phone is available in two colours — black and white — with centrally aligned rear camera and branding on the back panel. It has a speaker just alongside the branding.
The device displays the Indian Tricolour when you switch it on. The company has incorporated all the basic Google apps in the handset.
“Our devices are completely ‘Make in India’ and were manufactured at our Haridwar-based manufacturing unit. We plan to sell two lakh devices every month,” he said.
The company is also planning to launch a 32-inch high-definition LED television — also called “Freedom” — in the first week of July.
“These will be the cheapest television sets in India and will be available for less than Rs 10,000. Within two days, the delivery would be made and we will sell them online,” Goel said, adding that the company currently has one lakh such pieces in stock.
In comparison, the cost of 32-inch HD LED TV sets normally begins from Rs 13,000.