It sounds unlikely but it is in fact a reality, a $4 smartphone will soon be available to users in India. The Indian Express has been told that ultra low cost Freedom 251 will start to be shipped out commencing on 30 June.
It appears that around 200,000 devices will be despatched in the first batch.
As you would expect for $4, the hardware is hardly cutting edge. The Freedom 251 has a 4 inch screen, a 1.3GHz quad core processor, 1GB of internal memory that can be expanded to 8GB, an 8MP rear camera and 3.2MP front camera. The device is powered by Android 5.1.
Price is the key feature and for $4 you can’t really go wrong.
How feasible the device actually is, is open to debate with the Ringing Bell’s CEO admitting that they are suffering a loss on every device at the moment.
However, it is hoped that the sheer volume of sales will help to turn this around although the company is reluctant to let the media have any hands-on time with the device to help boost initial sales.
Should the Freedom 251 be successful it will have a huge impact on the phone market in India where even the cheapest of smartphones are out of reach for those living in rural areas – most of whom rarely enjoy middle class incomes.
The $4 price tag certainly closes the technological divide but whether the phone is actually any good remains to be seen and a bad experience may sour the entire concept.