Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited has announced JioPhone Next, an entry-level 4G smartphone in partnership with Google. During RIL’s 44th Annual General Meeting, Ambani said the JioPhone Next will be a fully featured smartphone co-developed by Google and Jio with extremely optimised Android software and cutting-edge features like voice assistant, automatic read-aloud of screen text, language translation, smart camera with augmented reality filters and much more. Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the JioPhone Next will be built for India (though RIL plans to make it available globally as well). The JioPhone Next will be launched in India on September 10.
Calling it a “truly breakthrough” smartphone, Ambani said the JioPhone Next will be among the most affordable smartphones in India and globally. The smartphone will launch in India first. The goal will be to offer a “fully featured” Android smartphone to first-time users or those looking to make a switch from feature phones, more precisely, 2G users.
Jio had launched the JioPhone, a 4G “smart” feature phone in India in 2017. It was followed by a second-generation product, JioPhone 2 in 2018. Rumours that Jio was working on an entry-level 4G smartphone, to replace the JioPhone feature phone, had been doing the rounds since the time the company launched the original. Until last year when Mukesh Ambani confirmed the plans during RIL’s 43rd Annual General Meeting .
The JioPhone Next is said to run an “optimised OS that is leveraged from Android and Play Store” and aimed at addressing the “unique needs of millions of smartphone users across India,” Google said in a statement. Google already has the Android Go platform specifically catering to low-cost handset. It isn’t immediately clear if the JioPhone Next will be based on the same platform or an extension of it. The JioPhone and JioPhone 2, for some context, run a custom fork of Firefox OS, called KaiOS.
The JioPhone Next is part of Google’s 33,737 crore investment in Jio Platforms.