A little-known Indian company has launched the world's cheapest smartphone.
The Freedom 251 is believed to be the cheapest in the world, targeting a market already dominated by low-cost handsets.
It costs just 251 rupees, around $3.66, less than one percent of the price of the latest Apple iPhone.
The Freedom 251 is believed to be the cheapest in the world, targeting a market already dominated by low-cost handsets. It costs just 251 rupees, around $3.66, less than one percent of the price of the latest Apple iPhone.
The device is the latest release from Ringing Bells, a company based in Noida, India.
Its mission is 'to provide futuristic technology products of the highest quality and best service at the lowest cost of ownership,' according to the company's website.
Ringing Bells was set up in September 2015 and began selling mobile phones via its website a few weeks ago under its Bell brand, a spokeswoman said.
'This is our flagship model and we think it will bring a revolution in the industry,' she told AFP.
Speaking at the launch, MP Murli Manohar Joshi praised the phone, and talked about the importance, not just of increased digital penetration in India, but also of making products in India. 'Unless India innovates and makes something new, it cannot progress,' he said according to NDTV.
'Because if technology is expensive then it's useless. You need technology for everyone, for fishermen and farmers and students. But technology that is cheap should also still be useable, cheap by itself is not enough.'
Ringing Bells currently imports parts from overseas and assembles them in India but plans to make its phones domestically within a year, the spokeswoman said.
Cheap smartphone handsets, many of them Chinese-made, are readily available in the Indian market but domestic competitors are making inroads, with models selling for less than $20.
Preorders for the Freedom 251 open on February 18 at 6AM and close on February 21 at 8PM from the firm's web site, with 500,000 handsets believed to be available.
India is the world's second-largest mobile market and notched up its billionth mobile phone subscriber in October, according to the country's telecoms regulator.
But in poorer Indian states such as Bihar, 'teledensity' -- the penetration of telephone connections for every hundred people -- is as low as 54 percent, with a stark urban-rural divide.
The handset has 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.
Ashok Chadha (2-R), President of Ringing Bells Pvt. Ltd., along with unidentified Ringing Bells official shows the 'Freedom 251' smartphone after its launch in New Delhi.