JioPhone Next, Jio’s long-rumoured debut 4G smartphone, is finally official. As expected, it’s built from ground up for first-time smartphone users looking to make a switch from feature phones. It’s also safe to assume that it will be “ultra-affordable.” Jio isn’t sharing the price just yet, but the JioPhone Next has been confirmed to launch in India on September 10. The smartphone will launch in India first and Jio plans to bring it to more global markets in the future.
Mukesh Ambani took the wraps off JioPhone Next during Reliance Industries Limited’s 44th Annual General Meeting on Thursday (June 24, 2021). The smartphone is being co-developed “closely” with Google and is part of the global search engine giant’s 33,737 crore investment in Jio Platforms. This means, among other things, that the JioPhone Next will be based on Android, or at least something that is based on it.
“This is testimony to a global technology company and a national technology champion working jointly to make a break-through product,” Ambani said in a prepared statement.
Software seems to be one of its big highlights. The duo is calling it “path-breaking.” Those are big words, but surely this is not the first time we’re hearing this. Google has been trying to make entry-level Android phones make sense for a very long time now, starting off with Android One and then transitioning into Android Go, but the experience has been far from ideal. It isn’t immediately clear if the JioPhone Next is based on any of the two platforms or if it’s something entirely different.
Google says the software experience in the JioPhone Next will focus on three aspects: localisation, cameras and push for latest Android features and security updates. More importantly, the software experience will be built for India keeping in mind the needs of millions of new users looking to experience the internet for the very first time.
“Our vision is to bring affordable access to information for Indians in their own language, to build new products and services for India’s unique needs, and to empower businesses with technology,” Sundar Pichai said, adding the JioPhone Next will offer “language and translation features, a great camera, and support for the latest Android updates.”
The JioPhone Next is said to bundle “cutting-edge” features like voice assistant, automatic read-aloud of screen text that will seemingly work with any text on the screen including web pages, apps, messages, and even photos, language translation, smart camera with augmented reality filters from Snapchat and HDR more, and more.
Speaking of design, the version that is being shown for now, seems to have an all-plastic body with wide bezels and a single camera on the back. More details should be released closer to launch.