- Google has partnered with India’s Reliance Jio to launch an ultra-affordable 4G smartphone called JioPhone Next.
- The phone will run an extremely optimized version of Android OS and will launch on Sep 10th.
- It will have features like voice assistant, automatic read-aloud of screen text, language translation and more.
Google forged a deal worth $4.5 billion with Reliance Jio last year with a promise to develop an Android-based operating system for entry-level smartphones. And today, we have more details on the same. Reliance Jio has announced a brand-new 4G smartphone called JioPhone Next.
According to Sundar Pichai, Google partnered with Reliance Jio to develop a special version of Android OS specifically for India. JioPhone Next will go on sale starting September 10, 2021, on the auspicious festival of Ganesh Chaturthi.
JioPhone Next has some custom features like Automatic read-aloud of screen text and language translation aimed to reach the next billion users who are still stuck with feature phones and 2G. They claim that JioPhone Next will be powered by an extremely optimized version of Android co-developed by Google and Jio. It will have access to all the apps on the Google Play Store.
“JioPhone Next will come with a great camera and latest Android updates,” says Pichai. “It is built for India and it will open up new possibilities for millions of new users who will experience the internet for the very first time.”
Jio is aiming to make India ‘2G mukt’ or free of 2G technology by helping users upgrade to 4G smartphones from 2G feature phones. Jio had earlier launched multiple versions of JioPhone which was still a feature phone with smart features and based on KaiOS.
By tapping on a button, users who do not have a native language can now translate content and have it read out loud to them in their native language. The Read Aloud and Translate Now features are now OS-wide, so they can be used with any text on the phone screen, including web pages, apps, messages, and even photos. People can leverage their Google Assistant to deliver a great experience with many Jio apps on this device by using App Actions. In addition to getting cricket scores and weather updates, users can also ask Google Assistant to play music on JioSaavn or check their balance on My Jio.
Google has partnered with Snap Inc to bring India-specific Snapchat lenses to the camera app. Despite being an ultra-affordable smartphone, Google promises that the JioPhone Next camera will take great photos and videos.
JioPhone Next Specs
Jio has stopped short of revealing the JioPhone Next specs, but the images above show a classic 16:9 display, with a single (13MP?) camera on the back and a front-facing camera as well. There’s a Google stock dialer app, Jio suite of apps, Google Chrome browser, Google Play Store, Google suite of apps like YouTube, Maps, Gmail, Google Photos, and Google Camera Go app.
JioPhone Next Price
As with the specs, neither Reliance Jio nor Google has revealed anything when it comes to the pricing of JioPhone Next. Considering they are targeting folks using 2G feature phones, it’s safe to assume that the JioPhone Next might be priced around USD 40 (Rs 3000).
The partnership between Google and Reliance Jio goes beyond this smartphone. Pichai says that Jio will move its cloud infrastructure to Google Cloud. “As part of this collaboration, Reliance will also shift its core retail businesses to Google Cloud’s infrastructure. They will be able to take advantage of Google’s AI and machine learning, e-commerce, and demand forecasting offerings. Harnessing the reliability and performance of Google Cloud will enable these businesses to scale up as needed to respond to customer demand,” says Pichai.