The world’s ‘cheapest smartphone’ to ship starting this week

A brand new smartphone that costs just $4 sounds ridiculous, right? Turns out it isn’t, thanks to a new tech start-up in India. A Freedom 251 handset – which costs just £3 and has been dubbed the world’s cheapest smartphone – is finally set to begin shipping later this week after a string of delays. Developed by Ringing Bells, a firm based near the country’s capital New Delhi, the 3G phone comes with a four-inch screen, an 8MP rear camera and 3.2MP front-facing camera.

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.

Mohit Goel, CEO of Ringing Bells

The firm had previously come under scrutiny by the Indian government, forcing them to withdraw the product from sale and refund customers while investigations continued over alleged copyright violations and lack of appropriate legal documents from the country’s telecoms regulator. Ringing Bells is hoping to sell more than 200,000 devices in the initial phase when the product goes on sale on June 30. The phone is available in two colours (black and white), runs Android Lollipop 5.1 and comes pre-installed with Facebook, YouTube, Google Play and WhatsApp. “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.