Ever thought of paying as little as $12 (amounts to approximately Rs 650) for a fully-functional phone? Well, we came across the Gongkai phone, which now makes it possible. It's a complete quad-band GSM phone featuring an OLED display, Bluetooth and MP3 playback. It has only basic features, but that's what one could expect at that price. The phone is a great option if you are going on a short trip/vacation or during the monsoon when people don't want to carry their expensive smartphones. Moreover, at $12, the phone is unlocked and contract-free; it also comes with a protective silicone sleeve.

A basic phone for $12

A basic phone for $12 (Image credit: bunnie studios)

After a teardown, bunnie studios reveals that the low price of the phone is possible due to several factors. The entire case snaps together and there are no screws holding the phone together. There are almost no connections inside and all components, such as the battery and display, are soldered directly to the board. There is a flipping switch that helps hard-disconnect the battery. Further, the battery also has no secondary protection circuit. Despite its slacky built, the phone features a backlit keypad and decorative lights around the edge. It equips the Mediatek MT6250DA chip and a Vanchip VC5276. The CPU clocks at 260MHz, 32-bit. The MT6250 chip is said to sell for less than $2 when bought in bulk. Apparently, the production price of the phone goes below $10.

Last year, we came across the M2 phone from a Chinese handset manufacturer going by the name Ken Xin Da. The phone priced at Rs 1,200 was amongst the tiniest phones one could find in the market. It came with a dual-SIM, dual-standby option, rated talktime of 240 minutes and bundled a 2GB memory card.

Affordable tablets and phones are a boon for developing nations like India. In fact, we’ve had our tryst with the Aakash tablet project. We’ve seen this cheapest tablet in the world face a lot of ups and downs. One shouldn't expect superior quality or performance from Gongkai either (considering its price). The price of the device is as low as ordering a highly-loaded large pizza or a nifty pair of earphones. A sub-Rs 1,000 phone could be a great initiative for India, especially as we are looking to connect remote and isolated regions of the country.

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