Google, RJio Working On An Affordable 4G Smartphone: Report

by CXOtoday News Desk    Mar 14, 2017

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Reliance Jio Infocomm, which launched its operations in September last year, has already taken the Indian telecom market by storm. The operator has hit a milestone of 100 million subscribers in less than six months and brought an array of free and highly affordable services, creating intense pressure on its rivals. The latest is, Google and Reliance Jio are reportedly working on an affordable smartphone that will work exclusively on Jio’s 4G network.

The phone is expected to be launched before the end of this year, according to industry sources aware of the development told BusinessLine. Google branding will help boost Reliance Jio’s plans to sell cheaper 4G handsets and reach a larger market. It will also ensure that Jio apps are more tightly integrated into the Android platform, improving the performance significantly, it said.

The report quoted analyst Sanchit Gogia, CEO at Greyhound Research, who believes that such a smartphone will help RJio increase data adoption and will also improve the overall quality of service delivered on the Jio network. “For Google, this would mean access to a large number of new users who would be connecting to the internet for the first time. It may also help the company assess its low-cost handset strategy,” said he.

This will be Google’s second attempt at launching affordable smartphones in India after its Android One project, which didn’t quite take off well. The technology major had launched the Andorid One project in India in September 2014, wherein it worked closely with brands such as Micromax, Karbonn and Spice to ensure the phone performed well despite being priced at just Rs. 6,500.

Android One also saw Google putting a lot of emphasis on regional languages as the phones allowed users to not only type in Hindi but also use the voice assistant in Hindi.

“Android One had too many OEM partners, with each phone from every brand looking exactly the same, leaving no distinction for the vendor. Moreover, at the same time, Chinese players like Xiaomi launched their phones at similar price with a lot more features, essentially killing the idea of Android One completely,” the report mentioned quoting Jayanth Kolla, founder and partner at Convergence Catalyst.

While RJio and Google declined to comment on the development, experts believe, if the news comes out to be true, this will be Google’s second attempt at launching affordable smartphones in India.