The world’s cheapest smartphone at Rs. 251 (less than $4) is breaking the ice again. Announced in February, Ringing Bells finally claims its Freedom 251 Android smartphone will start shipping this week. The company announced it will begin shipping the Freedom 251 on June 30, and the 2 lakh units will be shipped by 4-5 July.
According to Ringing Bells’ Founder and CEO Mohit Goel, “We are ready with nearly two lakh Freedom 251 handsets. We will start delivery from June 30.” This was the pilot phase, and Goel is sill uncertain about the next phase of shipments. Adding to this he said, “The next phase will start if we see some positive signs and support from the government.” He said that the delay was due to the battery, and its ‘Made in India’ smartphone is now ready, 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.
Who will get it First?
The company had planned to deliver 25 lakh handsets before June 30 at the time of launch. However, it received over 7.5 crore registrations before its payment gateway crashed within three days. So, one of main questions is out of the 7.5 crore registered users, who will receive the device. Well, Goel has some different plan for this and he wants to ensure the device reaches across India, and has planned state-wise lucky draws for the device.
“We got the highest number of registrations from UP and so we will have a draw, about 2.5 crore, and so after a lucky draw about 10,000 users from the state will get the device,” he said. Similarly, he has planned lucky draws for other states. The devices will be shipped between the said dates, and on a cash on delivery basis. “Users will pay us only once the device reaches us,” he said. Company is planning to use a software for the draw, as many people have registered for multiple phones. The software will ensure one email ID will receive just one phone, he said.
On the Profit making
Even with that extra funding, the company was falling INR 150 short of their targeted INR 251 price and hoped for help from the government. According to Goel, he is facing a loss of Rs. 140 – Rs. 150 per unit, 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 smartphone with a 4-inch WVGA resolution display has a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage and supports external memory cards of up to 32GB. It features a 3.2 megapixel camera on the back. It will have 0.3 megapixel camera on the front and has a 1450 mAh battery. It runs on Android 5.1 (Lollipop). It also supports dual-sim connectivity.