After revolutionising mobile services, Reliance Jio is all set to disrupt the entry-level smartphone market. Co-worked with Google, Reliance’s new offering will run an optimised version of the Android OS and is likely to pose a threat to the dominance of domestic and Chinese smartphone OEMs selling affordable smartphones.
The JioPhone Next smartphone comes after the widely popular Jio Feature Phone with 4G connectivity and limited smart functionality and is likely to fill the void of a good affordable Android smartphone in the market. There have been plenty of affordable smartphones in the market but most are underpowered and they often run on the older version of the Android operating system (except for smartphones running Android Go edition). This new smartphone would not just run an optimised Android operating system but will have features such as read-aloud, translate now, amongst others, that would make it easy for a feature phone user to switch to a smartphone.
“We see a large set of consumers, who prefer using phones in the price range of Rs 5-7k, even lower. Jio has already established itself as a hot favourite among its loyalists. This new offering from Jio and Google will encourage customers to switch to this device due to the trust value behind it. Brands like Xiaomi, Realme, Lava, & Micromax may face significant impact from this new made-in-India competition since they mostly dominate this price bracket,” says Nakul Kumar, COO & co-founder, Cashify – a re-commerce marketplace.
While Jio didn’t reveal the exact specifications and price, it did reveal that the phone is specially designed for the Indian market. Even though ultra-affordable, the JioPhone Next will feature a voice assistant, automatic read aloud, off-screen text language translation, smart camera with augmented reality filters, and much more.
For users who might not be able to read content in their language, they will be able to translate text on their screen with a tap of a button, and even have it read back to them in their own language. Read Aloud and Translate Now will be OS-wide features that will work with any text on their phone screen, including web pages, apps, messages, and even photos. Using App Actions, people can utilise their Google Assistant to deliver a great experience with many of the Jio apps on this device. In addition to asking for the latest cricket scores or a weather update, users can also ask Google Assistant to play music on JioSaavn or check their balance on My Jio. It will support the Android Play Store, through which users will have access to the entire universe of Android apps.
“Jio and Google have sought to address not just smartphone affordability, but also for the 3Vs – voice, vernacular and video. For its new smartphone, Jio has a large potential target base of 300Mn 2G feature phone users. However, I believe it should jumpstart the digital transformation tryst by focusing on upgrading its existing user base of Jio smart feature phone users,” says Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CyberMedia Research Ltd.
Built for India, with this ultra-affordable 4G smartphone, Reliance aims to onboard millions of new users to experience the internet for the very first time. This ultra-affordable 4G Android smartphone will be launched on September 10, later this year.