World’s cheapest smartphone launches in India for just over £2.50

The Freedom 251 has a 4in display and runs Android Lollipop 5.1

Indian phone manufacturer Ringing Bells is today launching the world’s cheapest smartphone: the Freedom 251, with a price tag of only Rs 251 (£2.57).

The 3G dual-SIM devices comes with a 4in 960 x 540p display, a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, a 3.2-megapixel rear camera and a 0.3-megapixel front camera. The handset also has a 1,450mAh battery, along with 8GB of internal storage, which can be bolstered with a 32GB microSD card.

The Freedom 251 will allegedly run on Android Lollipop 5.1 and have a number of pre-installed apps including Facebook and WhatsApp, along with software dedicated to social causes such as the government led “Clean India” initiative, Swachh Bharat, and a women’s safety app.

How the phone manages to be so cheap isn’t entirely clear. The addition of citizen-based apps suggests the phone may have been subsidised by the Indian government, but this isn’t stated on Ringing Bells’ website. The company did, however, tell Gadgets 360 that it received “immense support” from the Indian government and that the launch event will see the presence of top Indian government officials including the union minister of defence, Shri Manohar Parrikar.

There’s also the issue of whether the phone will deliver on what it promises. Tech blogger @rajupp noticed that handset in the newspaper ad looks very different to the device featured on the company’s website. 

Ringing Bells says on its website that it aims to “empower citizens, even in the remotest rural and semi-urban centres of India, with the latest in digital technology at incredible affordable prices”. The company promises a year's warranty for the phone, and that it can be serviced at over 650 centres across India. Bookings for the Freedom 251 will open from 6am on 18 February, and deliveries will be completed by 30 June.  

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