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The $4 Android phone debuts in India

No, that amount isn't missing an extra zero.

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What could be the world's cheapest Android phone just went on sale in India. It's so cheap, its retail price in US dollars can be rounded to a single digit. The device called Freedom 251 costs only 251 Indian rupees or a little less than $4. That's still quite a bit of money for the poorest of the poor in the country, but at the same time, it's not even enough to buy a Starbucks Venti latte. Its official website claims it has a 4-inch qHD IPS display, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage (expandable up to 32GB), as well as a front (0.3 megapixel) and rear (3.2 megapixel) cameras.

The website's details also say that the phone is powered by an unknown 1.3 GHz quad-core processor and a 1,450mAh battery. It runs Android Lollipop and will come preloaded with a handful of apps, such as Women Safety, Whatsapp, Facebook and YouTube, when it ships on June 30th. I've personally used dirt-cheap Android phones made in developing nations in the past (though nothing that costs as little as Freedom 251), and they were slow, unresponsive and generally a pain in the butt. They admittedly didn't have Freedom 251's specs, though, and this phone's newer components might be more efficient. Besides, if you're looking for top performance, you're not its target audience.

The device was designed and manufactured by a little known company called Ringing Bells under the government's "Make in India" initiative. According to XDA Developers, it had a rather controversial media launch recently, wherein Ringing Bells showed off a beta prototype marked with a logo that says "Adcom." The company tried to hide that Adcom branding using White-Out -- seriously -- because it's a known importer of products made outside the country. XDA also lists other controversies surrounding the device, but at only $4, we'll bet people will buy it anyway.

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