Reliance Jio Is ‘Secretly’ Working with Google to Develop Budget 4G Android Smartphones: Report

17 Mar
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By Anmol Sachdeva, The Tech Portal

Ever since its launch about six months ago, Reliance Jio has managed to on board over 100 million users to become one of the largest 4G telecom carriers in India. The company now seems to be looking to further its penetration in the market by launching budget 4G-enabled Android smartphones. But, it is said to be ‘secretly’ working with Google to build these smartphones to operate exclusively on their 4G network in the country.

Citing industry sources, the Hindu Business Line reports that Reliance Jio and Google may have joined hands to develop an affordable device that is expected to launch by the end of this year. The move will not only help Jio launch another affordable range of devices but also reach an even wider audience through Google’s branding.

Also, since the devices will be powered by Android, Reliance Jio’s suite of apps will come pre-installed on these devices. The apps, such as JioTV, Jio Money and others, will be more tightly integrated with the smartphone’s operating system, thus providing a seamless and intuitive user experience.Talking about this development in the report, Sanchit Gogia, CEO at Greyhound Research says,

Talking about this development in the report, Sanchit Gogia, CEO at Greyhound Research says,

Such a smartphone will help Reliance Jio increase data adoption — helping it render movies and music better over its network. It 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.

This will a significant addition to Jio’s lineup of smartphones, well not exactly as these devices will be sold under Google’s brand name. With its debut back in September, the telecom carrier had also officially launched its own-brand smartphones under the moniker LYF. These 4G-enabled devices were manufactured by a third-party Chinese phone maker, ranging from as low as ₹2,999 up to ₹19,999. It has managed to gain some market share with its LYF brand, courtesy of the strong demand for its 4G services in the nation.

This move will inadvertently also benefit the Mountain View-based tech giant as it has looking to capture the budget Android market for quite long. The launch of affordable phones in partnership with Jio will enable Google to revive its Android One program — which saw the tech giant exercise control over the design, specs,  development and support for partners OEMs. Popular Indian brands such as Intex, Micromax, Spice, and others had signed up but the plan never really took off.

This also falls in line with the company’s low-cost mobile device strategy that’ll help it reach a wider audience across the country. It is looking to connect everyone, even those in remote rural areas, with the internet through their budget devices and robust 4G network.  Earlier, there have also been speculations that Jio is building affordable 4G VoLTE-enabled feature phones which cost under ₹2,000. This feature phone, with Jio branding and dedicated app buttons, also surfaced on the interwebs a couple of times in the past.

Further, the report adds that Google and Reliance Jio are also working closely on the software development for the latter’s smart TV series. These devices, in a similar fashion, are also scheduled to be launched later this year. Thus, it means 2017 will be a prominent year for both Jio and Google, as the former starts charging for its network services and the latter extends its own smartphone lineup.