Indias 4 smartphone starts shipping on June 30

first_imgWhen Ringing Bells announced their $4 smartphone, they nearly broke the Internet. Now, the phone that sounded like vaporware is nearly ready to ship.Scores of outside observers wondered if the phone would ever even materialize. A fraud investigation was even launched against Ringing Bells, but now they’re ready to deliver the goods. Despite all that, it really is more than just a render in a newspaper ad now. By June 30th, the company will have 200,000 units to ship to their customers.It’s easy enough to see why people were skeptical of a $4 smartphone. Head over to Aliexpress, and the cheapest price you’ll see on a device with a 4-inch touchscreen is around $29 — and many of those run dual-core chips and have just 512MB of storage.The Freedom 251, though, is shipping with a quad-core chip, a gig of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage. It also has an 8MP rear-facing camera, a 3.2MP one for selfies, and dual SIM slots.How do you sell that kind of device for just $4? Keeping the cost of parts down to the absolute minimum is the key, but you also have to be willing to get creative. CEO Mohit Goel says Ringing Bells is doing that by selling the Freedom 251 at a loss of around $2.20.No worries, says Goel. Ringing Bells will make it up on volume. Yes, even though they’re already using parts that are so cheap that they can build the Freedom 251 for just over $6 he figures that shipping a couple million devices will lead to profit — and not just tens of millions of dollars in losses.There’s always the possibility that the company’s losses are being offset another way. They may be subsidized by the government, for example, or through advertising revenue. That, or Goel really is just so bullish on making sure that every Indian citizen can get on the Internet that he’s willing to put the company more than $50 million in in the red to do it.last_img read more