Freedom 251, billed as the world's cheapest smartphone and launched in February 2016, has finally got a release date. Manufactured by India's Noida-based startup Ringing Bells, the Android-powered smartphone bearing a price tag of Rs 251 ($3.69, £2.76) is getting ready for its first phase of delivery.
"We are ready with nearly two lakh [200,000] 'Freedom 251' handsets. We will start delivery from June 30," Ringing Bells founder and chief executive officer, Mohit Goel told IANS. He said the company will open up registration again for those who wish to buy the handset, once the first phase of delivery, which is for the 200,000 units is complete. Following its launch the handset was mired in controversy for being a re-branding of rival Adcom's Ikon 4 low-end smartphone and running an operating system that is a crude copy of the iOS.
The company originally planned to deliver 2.5 million units of the handset before 30 June and had received more than 70 million registrations within just three days of its launch.
Goel said, "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." Goel claims to be facing a loss of Rs140-150 per unit, but hopes to make a 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'," he added.
Running on the Android Lollipop version 5.1, the Freedom 251 smartphone packs a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, which is paired with 1GB RAM. It offers 8GB internal storage, which could be expanded up to 32GB through an external memory card.
Other key elements include an eight megapixel rear camera with flash and 3.2 megapixel front-facing camera. The handset would come in two different colour variants - black and white. It displays the Indian tricolour when it is powered on.
"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," said Goel.
Driven by the huge popularity of the smartphone, Ringing Bells is planning to launch a 32in high-definition LED television set dubbed Freedom as early as 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," added Goel. The company currently has 1,00,000 such units in stock, he said.