JioPhone Next, the entry level Android smartphone by Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio and tech giant Google, is going to launch in India by Diwali, confirmed Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google during the Q3 earnings call with investors.
“We've also made progress with the made for India affordable smartphone co-developed with Reliance. The JioPhone Next device features premium localized capabilities and is on track to launch in-market by Diwali,” Pichai said during the call.
The smartphone was earlier expected to launch on September 10, but was delayed due to the ongoing chip shortage that has disrupted the global supply of several electronics devices.
Aimed at first time smartphone buyers migrating from feature phones, the JioPhone Next is expected to be priced under Rs 5,000. The smartphone will run on a custom version of Android called Pragati OS that Reliance Jio has developed in collaboration with Google, the company announced early this week. Many experts had earlier predicted the JioPhone Next would run Android Go, which Google had specifically designed for budget smartphones with cheaper hardware.
Reliance Jio’s plan to create an affordable smartphone dates back to July 2020 when the company announced a massive investment of Rs. 33,737 crore by Google in Jio Platforms Limited for a 7.73% stake. As part of the Google-Jio partnership, the two companies had said that they will build an affordable smartphone with a custom Android OS that will be optimised for Indian users.
In a video released early this week, Reliance Jio had said that the Pragati OS platform will have a language translation feature with support for 10 Indian languages and a “read aloud” function that will make the smartphone more accessible to users. The smartphone will be powered by a Qualcomm processor and is expected to have pre-loaded Jio apps.