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Controversial $4 smartphone to start shipping next week

After stirring controversy with its dirt-cheap smartphone earlier this year, Indian company Ringing Bells says it has over 200,000 Freedom 251 units ready for shipping.

Ringing Bells

Can a smartphone really cost the same as a cup of coffee? An Indian company is betting all its money on it.

After raising eyebrows around the world earlier this year, Indian smartphone company Ringing Bells has announced that it will begin shipping its suspiciously cheap Freedom 251 phone from June 30.

The announcement follows its earlier commitment of shipping the Freedom 251, a 4-inch entry level Android-powered smartphone priced at 251 rupees (roughly $3.70, £2.70, AU$5), by the end of June.

Ringing Bells has over 200,000 units of Freedom 251 ready for shipment, said the company's founder and CEO Mohit Goel in an interview with IANS.

Many were dubious that the Noida-based company could release a $4 smartphone, and it didn't help matters that Ringing Bells was caught disguising an Adcom Ikon 4s, which retails for around $60, as a Freedom 251 for marketing and media purposes back in February.

Goel previously told the Times of India that his company had partnered with a number of software firms to place their apps on the phone, with that revenue allowing Ringing Bells to sell the device at 251 rupees. He admitted to IANS, however, that Ringing Bells is still facing a loss of about 140 to 150 rupees per unit, and seeks help from government.

The Freedom 251 unit which will ship to consumers reportedly features dual-SIM capability, 1GB of RAM, a 1.3GHz processor from an unnamed chipset maker, 8GB of internal storage, an 8-megapixel rear camera, 3.2-megapixel front-facing shooter and a 1,800mAh battery.