For $4, you can get an average cup of coffee, or two bottles of water, or maybe a decent sandwich. If you live in India, that same $4 can get you a brand new smartphone from handset maker Ringing Bells. Sorry, I meant $3.67 at the current exchange rate. Excuse me while my mind gets blown into teeny tiny pieces. WHAAAAAAAAAA?!

OK, I'm back. So we were talking about that new $4 $3.67 smartphone. It's called the Freedom 251 because it costs Rs. 251. Clever. It will be officially unveiled later today by Defence minister Manohar Parrikkar likely as part of his "Make in India" initiative which aims to move production lines to India, but the phone's official page is already up and we can spot some of its specs.

So what do those four bucks get you? A really low-end smartphone, but can you even fault the Freedom 251 for that? There's a 4" 960x540 IPS display, a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage with a MicroSD slot, a 3.2MP camera on the back, a 0.3MP one on the front, and a 1450mAh battery. The phone runs Android 5.1 and has 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS. The phone is backed by a 1-year warranty and will come with a few pre-installed apps like Women Safety, Swachh Bharat, Fisherman, Farmer, Medical, Google Play, WhatsApp, Facebook, and YouTube.

I can't wrap my head around the fact that all of this can be bought for less than $4. For pete's sake, a decent 8GB MicroSD card costs more than $4! But it seems that either the government will be subsidizing it in an effort to get every Indian person connected, or there could be some catch with ads or push notifications or other ways to monetize this phone.

Bookings for the Freedom 251 open on February 18 at 6AM and close on February 21 at 8PM. Go dig deep, very deep in your pockets to see if you have $4 to spare and make sure you weigh all the pros and cons before making such a huge financial decision.

It looks different now

So here's a weird twist; the official website for this phone has been updated with all new device renders, and they look a lot worse. There's an iPhone home button, big bezels, and the shape is much more rounded. It's all a little suspicious.

2016-02-17 09_43_49-Freedom 251 india first most affordable smartphone by ringing bells.


There's a video of the phone in action below. So, we can safely say it actually exists.

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