News: The World's First $4 Android Phone Is Here... Maybe

The World's First $4 Android Phone Is Here... Maybe

A little-known company in India is making waves after announcing that it will sell an Android 5.1 Lollipop smartphone for less than $4 (or, more precisely, 251 rupees). The Freedom 251, from Ringing Bells, sounds almost too good to be true. Is that because it is?

A presale for the Freedom 251 starts tomorrow, February 18th, at 6 a.m., and closes on February 21st at 8 p.m. (no clarification of which time zone this pertains to is given, but it's most likely IST (Indian Standard Time)).

Get ready to experience the freedom. If this $4 handset is legit, that is. Image via Ringing Bells

The whole thing sounds super fishy, especially when you take into account that Ringing Bells marketed a 4G smartphone earlier in the year for $44, but haven't seemed to deliver any of those handsets yet. Factor in that Ringing Bells has only existed as a company for a scant five months, and it sounds even dicier.

Furthermore, a trial model of the handset given to the Hindustan Times turned out to be an ADCOM handset, with the ADCOM logo obscured by whiteout. When asked by the Hindustan Times, ADCOM replied that it has "no idea that our branding is being used on the Freedom 251." That's real reassuring.

The preview version of the Freedom 251 also contained app icons that were pretty much exact copies of iPhone icons. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it's also a good way to get your ass sued. Then again, Apple hasn't had much luck going after imitators in China, so their hands may be tied as long as this device retails only in India.

While the home screen and app drawer look like Android, the icons are clearly iOS-inspired (i.e., copied). Image via Hindustan Times

As if that wasn't enough, the handset is being launched at a high-profile ceremony expected to be attended by several top Indian government officials—including defense minister Manohar Parrikar—as part of the "Make in India" program designed to spur production in the country. But it sounds like Ringing Bells is just cobbling the Freedom 251 together from preexisting parts, and... I just don't even know anymore. This whole thing sounds insane.

If you want to take a chance with the phone, at least it's only $4 (actually, $3.67 at current exchange rates), and there's also probably going to be shipping costs involved, assuming this thing ever ships. Those shipping costs are likely to be much more than the phone itself.

The handset has pretty good specs for such a low price. The Freedom 251 is advertised as having a 4-inch display with a resolution of 960x540 pixels. It has a 3.2 megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 0.3 megapixel selfie cam. The device has 1 GB RAM running on an "unknown" 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, 8 GB internal storage, and a microSD slot to add more.

So, is the Freedom 251 worth your hard-earned four bucks? I certainly wouldn't bother with the presale. If Ringing Bells actually makes good on Freedom 251 deliveries, this could serve as a good backup, or you could take it on vacation.

But as your primary phone? As ridiculous as this might sound, you might want to save the $4 and put it toward something a little more reliable, like your morning coffee.

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Apparently, the servers are over loaded due to many clicks.

Dear friends, we are very grateful for your enormous response and your kind patronage and would submit that as of now we received approx. 6 Lacs hits per second as a result of your kind overwhelming response, servers are over loaded.

We humbly submit that we are therefore taking a pause and upgrading the service and will revert within or before 24 hours.

Once again our respectful thanks and gratitude for your support and patience. We look forward your return as soon as we are back online well within 24 hours.

-The Joker

After 24 hours, the buy now page crashed and my browser displayed a server overload error message.

-The Joker

After another 24 hours (now), the booking has closed.

-The Joker

I am from India and I have something to add to this article, if you wish to update it with info

The promoters of the company belong to agriculture background.

When asked about imitation of iPhone icons, they said they didn't knew it was copyrighted.

The company Ringing bells Pvt. Ltd. was formed in September 2015.

None of the promoter has made any investment in the company.

These handsets are not subsidized by Government Of India.

Their website is unprofessional, where you can order half and minus units as well.

None of the Government officials visited the launch ceremony, it was just the hype created by Ringing bells.

Last but not the least; it seems to be the biggest scam on internet – publicly. I had tried my best on Twitter (@kunalbarchha) to get in touch with them and their website developers. I had sent them screenshots as well, but they have many dummy account holders who just shadowed my message.

Of course you can add more, including what they're saying that makes the phone cheap, and what has someone (I don't remember who) has said in a letter to some related department, including that just creating a phone with these features costs around Rs. 2500-3000.

-The Joker

Thanks, Kunal. Maybe we'll run an update next week if more information becomes available. The presale site is still down, and Ringing Bells leadership isn't talking.

RB initially said they received 30,000 orders, but doesn't look like anybody's been charged yet. I guess it's possible the RB is just in way over its head, but each detail that comes out suggests something sinister at play.

We should give RB a chance to respond. But in the meantime, I would not give them your money.

Few of them have been charged, I have checked their CC receipts. What I personally feel is that they werent prepared for this kind of huge traffic.

Their developers had pathetic coding, which hardly goes through payment gateway.
Let's wait and watch. If I get something from local news paper, I'll update it here .

You site is crazy man, If I edit a comment, it's being posted as new. and sometimes it's posting HTML codes instead of a comment.

The Joker, you are right. In explanation to that the CEO has said they have a long term vision and they are playing a quantity game here. They have offer from Flipkart (India's biggest ecommerce) and Amazon, that they want to sell their products on That's hilarious, because itself hosted on AWS (Amazon web services). It is definitely a scam, and people are going nuts to buy it.

Why don't they understand. If $4 isn't a big deal for them, why don't they feed a hungry child, instead of getting scammed and then rigorously raging on Twitter and Facebook.

Oh yes, how did I forgot this one. One of the promoter, named Mohit Goel has a facebook profile with a name "Cute Mohit". Which promoter in this world would have a Facebook profile with that kind of name?

There are things I can overlook, and there are those which I can't.

How convient of them to simply say that buy now form has closed, where it hadn't really opened in the first place (my first comment justifies that), and because the authority started to keep an eye on them!

Just to add, today is Feb 20th, around 6pm.
This is the moment when it is clearly shouting aloud, "I'M A SCAM".

-The Joker

One more thing that I forgot mention, Look at their English. Any company planning to create revolution in any field would have hired professional content writers.

The title spelled 'india', where ' i ' should be capital. This is one the many mistakes I found.

I am also a blogger and I know the value of language when you are doing something publicly.

Note to author: In India, coffee tends to be cheaper. As an example, if I were to go to Costa or CCD, it'd cost around Rs.70 ($1). And making it yourself at home brings the cost MUCH MORE down. Consider 1l full cream pasteurized milk at Rs.45 (slightly less than $0.7) and other things, ie. coffee and chocolate syrup enough for 2 weeks (at least (for me, if I drink a glass daily)) under around $2-3 each.

-The Joker

Income tax department and excise departed conducted a raid at RINGING BELLS head office. Nothing much has been declared yet on the outcome. But the purpose of the raid was to check the credibility of the company.

According to today's newspaper, the company has received 70m rupees on the first day (1m dollar approx.)
The company has no allocated plants to begin the production or assembling.
According to the company they have received orders of 2.5m units.

The other side of the story MIGHT BE, they will deposits these funds in bank @8% PA interest for 4 months. After that they will refund everyone with some silly excuse. That way, it won't be called as a scam, but they will make hefty profits out of nothing.

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