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Freedom 251: Telecom ministry remains doubtful about the world’s cheapest smartphone

The telecom ministry remains unsure about the viability of a Rs 251 smartphone. It feels a 3G smartphone like Freedom 251 cannot be offered at this price.

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The telecom ministry has done an internal assessment on viability of the Freedom 251, being touted as the world’s cheapest smartphone at Rs 251. It has found that such a device cannot be offered for less than Rs 2,300-2,400, say informed sources. “An internal assessment was done by the telecom ministry from the day the phone was launched. Officials have found that such a handset cannot be offered for less than Rs 2,300-2,400,” an official source told IANS.

Noida-based startup, Ringing Bells, which is promising the world’s cheapest “Make in India” smartphone, on Friday claimed to have received nearly seven crore registrations in just two days of opening up for online pre-orders.

Ringing Bells president Ashok Chadha told IANS that since the company will hand over 25 lakh Freedom 251 phones to the people who have registered it online, the firm shut the registration process early. Taking the world by surprise, the firm on Wednesday launched Freedom 251″ smartphone that, it said, has been developed “with immense support” from the government.

There are, however, some apprehensions about its final appearance and performance. It looks similar to an Apple iPhone. All the icons of the built-in app are a pixel-to-pixel copy of Apple’s iOS icons. Freedom 251 has a Android 5.1 operating system, a 4-inch WVGA IPS display, a 3.2-megapixel primary and a 0.3-megapixel front camera. The smartphone also comes with pre-installed apps like Swachh Bharat, Women Safety, WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, among others.