The world's cheapest smartphone costing just $4
|Freedom 251, first unveiled in February this year.|
The world's cheapest smartphone costing just $4 is finally set to begin shipping later this week in an attempt to connect poorer regions of India.
Aiming to make internet access affordable to millions of people across the country, the Freedom 251 device goes on sale on June 30 and will only be available to pre-registered users in India.
Despite briefly being available earlier this year, the manufacturers were forced to refund over 30,000 pre-orders and delay shipping after its website crashed.
Developed by Ringing Bells, a technology firm based in Noida, more than 200,000 devices will be sold during the first phase of delivery.
Customers who registered their interest in the device will pay on arrival of the product, with many certain to miss out.
The gadget comes with a four-inch screen, an 8MP rear camera and 3.2MP front-facing camera.
Users of the phone will have 8GB of storage and 1GB RAM available to them, while a 1.3GHz quad-core processor powers the device.
Running on Android Lollipop 5.1, the gadget available in either black or white, comes pre-installed with Facebook, YouTube, Google Play and WhatsApp.
First unveiled in February, the firm's website crashed after seven million people registered their interest just hours after it was announced.
In a notice to its customers soon after the outage, the company said it was receiving 600,000 hits per second on its website.
In comparison, Google manages only 40,000 search requests in the same time frame.
The firm was forced to withdraw the product from sale and refunded all of the customers who had paid for the device following scrutiny by government.
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The world's first bendable smartphone made using graphene, which was first developed in Britain, is set to go on sale.Made by a company in China, the device's graphene-based screen is so flexible that it can be worn as a chunky bracelet.The revolutionary material combines being both extremely thin – one atom - and strong – 200 times stronger than steel.Graphene was first isolated in 2004 by two scientists at The University of Manchester, who were subsequently awarded the Nobel prize.The phone has been created by a little-known start-up company in China called the Moxi Group, which is based in Chongqing.It seems have stolen a march on much bigger rivals like Samsung of South Korea and Apple, who have been working on their own flexible handsets.Moxi says it will ship 100,000 of the devices for the Chinese market this year at a price that is equivalent to £531 ($776).
Mohit Goel, CEO of Ringing Bells, told The Indian Express: 'We learned from our mistakes and decided to go silent until we come out with the product.
'Now we have a 4-inch, dual-SIM phone ready for delivery. I feel vindicated.
'Let us see what can we do to bring about a real liberation of Freedom to all our brothers and sisters.'
Once the first phase of delivery is complete, registration will open again for those wishing to buy the handset.
The company was only set-up last year, but have already been caught in a number of controversies surrounding the phone.
A patent infringement from Apple regarding some of the built-in app icons was filed, while fellow manufacturers Adcom claimed they used their devices but masked their logo out.
The firm is hoping to squash claims from critics that it would be impossible to produce a phone so cheaply.
With the manufacturing cost of each phone claimed to be over £40, the firm is choosing to use innovative marketing techniques to showcase their device.
And they are hoping for a large volume of sales to help recover costs from production.
The Indian Cellular Association (ICA) previously said that a smartphone with specifications such as the Freedom 251 device has can not be manufactured for that price.
Although the company never discussed the economics behind their operation, analysts questioned the business model.
Tarun Pathak, an analyst at Counterpoint Technology Research, said: 'It looks like it's highly subsidized by the company and it's not clear how they plan to sustain this.'
The company is also planning to launch a 32-inch high-definition television next month - but not quite as cheap as their smartphones, with a device reportedly set to cost £110.
India is Asia's fastest growing smartphone market with 103.6 million smartphones sold in 2015. Most Indians still buy cheap smartphones that cost less than £150.
Other attempts at cheap engineering in India have not been very successful.
A laptop costing just £7.50 was announced by the Indian government in 2008, but ended up costing over £75 by the time it reached the market. dailymail