Reliance JioPhone might become a common sight in India after its launch in September. However, many are still contemplating the actual use of the device, especially with ultra cheap smartphones in the market. Reliance Jio is hard at work trying to increase the reasons why anyone would want to buy the JioPhone.
Currently, other than voice over LTE (VoLTE) calls and basic internet browsing, there is hardly any thing that the JioPhone user will be able to do with the fast 4G connection. One of the biggest deprivations would be the lack of basic applications like Facebook and WhatsApp.
However, Reliance Jio knows that India's 200 million subscriber base of WhatsApp can increase manifold if they are able to provide a special WhatsApp application for the phone's respective operating system.
According to a report by Factor Daily, Reliance Jio is in talks with WhatsApp to provide a special version of the application on JioPhone. Since the application is not available on KaiOS (JioPhone's operating system), WhatsApp will have to tweak its application to introduce it on the JioPhone.
According to the report, the discussions are at a very nascent stage for now. "The talks are on. We already have a relationship with Facebook...There are technical challenges. A version (of WhatsApp) is needed that will work optimally on the JioPhone," a source close to Jio revealed.
JioPhone is being touted as 'India ka Smartphone' as it is aimed at the feature phone market, which is still a majority in the phone market. The company also launched exclusive data plans for the device. JioPhone will be launched for testing on 15 August, will be available for pre-booking from August 24 and will be commercially available by September this year.
Dreading the monopoly Reliance Jio can have on the cheap-segment devices and customers, other telecom operators are jumping into the race with their own offerings. Idea Cellular-Vodafone is also planning to introduce a cheap 4G smartphone at Rs 2,500. Being a smartphone, the company claims that it will be able to run basic applications like Facebook, WhatsApp and Google.