Ahead of the JioPhone Next launch next week, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said he is "excited" to see the device help more Indians access the internet through a smartphone.
"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" Pichai said.
Google also shared additional details on the operating system that will power the smartphone, which has been co-developed with Reliance.
Called Pragati OS, the operating system is based on Android Go operating system, a stripped down version of the Android operating system designed for entry-level smartphones. On October 29, Reliance announced that the made-for-India smartphone will be available for an entry price of Rs 1,999, with the remaining amount paid via the company's easy EMI over 18 or 24 months. The smartphone can also be bought upfront for Rs 6,499.
In an official blogpost, Ram Papatla - GM & India Engineering Lead, Android said they worked closely with Jio to create this operating system with capabilities built to cater to the diverse needs of the Indian consumer.
This includes read-aloud and language translation for any on-screen text in 10 Indian languages and voice-first features that will also enable people to consume content and navigate the phone in their language of choice.
Google has partnered with Snap Inc to integrate India-specific Snapchat Lenses directly into the phone's camera app Camera Go to provide a better photo-taking experience for users. The high-quality camera will also include features such as night mode, Portrait mode and HDR mode.
JioPhone Next will also include Android's ‘Nearby Share’ feature that will allow users to quickly share apps, photos, videos, music and other content from their devices. Last year, Google had said that Nearby Share automatically chooses the best protocol for fast and easy sharing using Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, WebRTC or peer-to-peer WiFi — allowing users to share even when they are fully offline.
Apart from this, users will have access to Google Play Store along with over the air updates support for new features, customization, and Android security updates with built-in Google Play Protect among others.
"We are actively expanding our Android product and engineering presence in India, where we will continue to focus on building new experiences in close collaboration with our global engineering teams aimed at the millions of new users coming online," Papatla said.
On October 27, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai had said during the company's earnings conference call that they view the launch of the JioPhone Next as a "version of digital transformation" that will have a lot of impact in the country over a three-five-year time frame.
"What excites me about the upcoming partnership with Jio in building a phone is really investing beyond just English and getting languages and getting the local needs right for people and doing it in a way that many more people can take advantage of a smartphone," Pichai said during the earnings conference call.
Mukesh D Ambani, Chairman & Managing Director, Reliance Industries said, “I am delighted that Google and Jio teams have succeeded in bringing this breakthrough device to Indian consumers in time for the festival season, in spite 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.”
The JioPhone Next was first unveiled by Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani and Google CEO Sundar Pichai at RIL's annual general meeting (AGM) on June 24, 2021. This was after Google and Jio Platforms had entered into a commercial agreement to jointly develop an entry-level affordable smartphone in July last year. Google had also invested $4.5 billion in Jio Platforms, taking a 7.73 percent stake in the firm.Disclaimer: MoneyControl is a part of the Network18 group. Network18 is controlled by Independent Media Trust, of which Reliance Industries is the sole beneficiary.