The JioPhone Next, which has been in the works as part of a partnership between Google and Reliance Jio for over a year, is close to launch. Contrary to popular belief, it seems the device will not run on Google’s Android Go platform. Instead, the two companies have developed a new operating system, called Pragati OS, which is “powered by Android”, according to a new ‘making of the JioPhone Next’ unveiled yesterday by Reliance Jio.
The two companies had announced their partnership last year during the Mukesh Ambani-owned company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). The American technology giant invested Rs. 33,737 crore in Jio Platforms Limited, gaining a 7.73% stake in the company. The transaction is Google’s biggest investment in India till date and the two companies said they would create an affordable smartphone for the Indian market.
“Jio Platforms will pursue this global opportunity and create a significant source of revenue from both the domestic and global markets," RIL said in a statement at the time.
Until now, experts had said that the JioPhone Next will likely run on the Android Go platform, a toned down version of Android meant for smartphones with cheaper hardware. The video also revealed that the new Pragati OS platform will have a language translation feature that supports 10 Indian languages. It also has a “read aloud” function, which allows the phone to read aloud “content from any app open on your screen”, which sounds a lot like some of Android’s built-in Accessibility features.
Google’s involvement suggests that PragatiOS will support the Play Store, but Jio said that the phone will have access to content libraries from Jio apps. The phone will have a processor from Qualcomm and is put together at a plant run by electronics manufacturing startup Neolync in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. Jio had invested Rs. 20 crore in Neolync in August this year.
The phone was expected to hit the stores on September 10 this year, but has since been delayed because of the global shortage of chips that has been plaguing electronics manufacturers worldwide.