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A $4 phone? India's Freedom 251 doesn't add upAnalysts say the "world's cheapest smartphone" is too good to be true. Meanwhile, other quirky phones emerge before Mobile World Congress, including the cloud-centric Nextbit Robin and Caterpillar's thermal-imaging S60.
Is a $4 smartphone too good to be true? Guess what, it is. I'm Bridget Carey this is your CNet update. [MUSIC] A phone should not be the same price as cup of coffee but one new smartphone maker in India is getting lots of attention this week for introducing an Android phone that only costs about $4 It's the Freedom 251 and its called 251 because in India it costs 251 rubies which comes to $3.70 here. But when you look closer at the facts around this phone, things start to get super shady and it's clear something is not right. For starters, the company, Ringing Bells, says it's made in India but is in fact made in China. When the phone was unveiled at a press event reporters were given sample phones that had the Chinese brand Adcom covered in whiteout. You can see the. the paint scratched off here in this video from the business newspaper Mint, in which the report also says she had trouble getting the review model to turn on. And photos from various news outlets all show icons on the home screen that look like they were ripped off from Apple's iPhone app icons. India's telecom ministry is investigating this company and how it could possibly sell a phone for so cheap. Because when you just break down the cost of the parts that are being imported from China it costs about 40$ to make. Freedom 251 is marketed to have a four inch display. A 1.3 gigahertz quad-core processor and eight gigs of storage running Android lollipop. The Bbc and others report that the company does not yet have a manufacturing center in India and yet This made in India phone promises to start shipping preorders by the end of June. The website crashed Thursday from preorders. And the company told the Economic Times of India that they had 30,000 orders already for the phone before the site went down. Yeah, we shall have to see how this plays out. In the meantime there are some other unique phones popping up that aren't so shady, but they don't come as cheap. Take the Nextbit Robin, this comes from a brand new company and to stand out it took a new approach to storage It comes with 32 gigs but, to save room it will automatically archive apps and photos that you have not used and store the in Nextbit servers online. Yes,the cloud Yes the cloud. You re-download them when you need them. The fingerprint sensors to unlock the phone is on the power button on the side and with our time with it we have found it to work very well. But it is not a perfect phone, it cost $400 unlocked. And Caterpillar, yes the construction brand, has a new ultra rugged phone called the S60. And it's the first with thermal imaging sensor built into the camera. It comes out this year for $600. And it's one of many phones that will be unveiled at the big mobile show taking place in Barcelona, Mobile World Congress. We'll be bringing you tons of news in the mobile world over the next few days. So stay tuned to CNET for continuing coverage. From our studios in New York, I'm Bridget Carey. [MUSIC]