Google and Jio’s smartphone with custom Android OS for India launches November 4 for $87

Manish Singh


Google and top Indian telecom network Jio Platforms said on Friday that their much-anticipated budget smartphone, JioPhone Next, will go on sale in the world’s second largest smartphone market on November 4 (coinciding with the big Indian festival of Diwali.) The firms said the JioPhone Next will cost 6,499 Indian rupees ($87), and can also be purchased in multiple instalments with an entry price as low as $27.

The two firms also revealed the specifications of the JioPhone Next. The smartphone features a 5.45-inch HD+ display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. It is powered by Qualcomm’s quad-core QM-215 chipset that clocks up to 1.3GHz, coupled with 2GB of RAM and 32GB internal storage, which is expandable. The dual-SIM capable JioPhone Next houses a 3,500 mAh battery.

The smartphone runs Pragati OS, which is powered by an extremely optimized Android mobile operating system with a range of customized features — such as Read Aloud and Translate Now that will work with any text on the phone screen, including web pages, apps, messages and even photos — for the Indian market.

The JioPhone Next was originally scheduled to launch in the second week of September, but the two firms delayed the sale citing global chip shortage.

“The JioPhone Next is an affordable smartphone designed for India, inspired by the belief that everyone in India should benefit from the opportunities the internet creates. To build it, our teams had to work together to solve complex engineering and design challenges, and I’m excited to see how millions of people will use these devices to better their lives and communities,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, in a statement.

Analysts have said in recent months that the JioPhone Next could disrupt the Indian smartphone market — the world’s second largest — and help the telecom network, which has amassed over 400 million subscribers and last year raised over $20 billion from a range of marquee investors including Google and Facebook, further solidify its dominance in the country.

The JioPhone Next is aimed at helping roughly 300 million users in India who are still on a 2G network upgrade their gadget to access faster networks.

“I am delighted that Google and Jio teams have succeeded in bringing this breakthrough device to Indian consumers in time for the festival season, inspite of the current global supply chain challenges caused by the Covid pandemic. I have always been a firm believer in the power of the Digital Revolution to enrich, enable and empower the lives of 1.35 billion Indians. We have done it in the past with connectivity. Now we are enabling it again with a smartphone device,” said Mukesh D Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, which operates Jio Platforms.

This is a developing story. More to follow…

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