Reliance Jio seems to be targeting the lower-income group with the launch of its JioPhone, but many smartphone users could be looking forward to buy it. Buyers need to pay a refundable security deposit of Rs 1,500 to get hold of the phone.
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.
Here are mains factors to consider before you make the purchase:
Owning a secondary feature phone that is also capable of accessing 4G internet is not a bad idea altogether. When Reliance Jio launched its 4G network in India, the company registered a sharp growth in customer base. However, there was no visible decline in the market share of top players in the telecom industry. Considering that most smartphones these days, come with a dualSIM slot, most users made Reliance Jio as their second SIM.
Similarly, the phone offered by Reliance Jio might not be able to replace smartphones altogether but they can definitely become an efficient secondary device.
Voice calls are one of the key reasons why one would want to buy a feature phone. JioPhone might be one of the best investments for one who makes long voice calls. During the AGM event on July 21, Chairman Mukesh Ambani clearly stated that voice calls will always be free on a JioPhone. However, we are still unsure if these calls will require a working internet connection at all times.
One of the biggest downfalls of smartphones is battery life. Despite aggressive growth in terms of processing power, features and even design, the smartphone industry has failed to remedy a permanent and effective solution for short battery lives. The best in the industry can hardly survive two days without a charge. Feature phones on the other hand, don't use heavy processors or anything power intensive.
With JioPhone, the company did not mention the talktime the device can offer but considering that there's no touch screen panel to suck the battery dry, the device should offer a decent power back up.
The JioPhone sports a small 2.4 inch QVGA display on the front and has a small physical keypad instead of a touch screen. In the age of smartphones and phablets, a small compact design factor has become rather rare. JioPhone, similar to other feature phones is compact and still has the capability of accessing 4G internet.
The biggest advantage and the USP that the JioPhone boasts is its capability of operating on 4G network, despite being a feature phone. The company claims that JioPhone users will also get a cheaper data plan at almost half the price of the Rs 309 plan. However, consumers using this plan will have an FUP of 500MB per day in comparison to 1GB per day that can be availed with Rs 309 plan.
The feature phone can double up as streaming device for your television. JioPhone doesn't need a smartTV either and can connect via a simple cable.
During the AGM, there was a fleeting mention of NFC in the JioPhone. According to the company, the NFC feature will show up on the JioPhone later this year. NFC as a payment method is still at a nascent stage in India. JioPhone can connect to credit, debit cards and UPI accounts for payments and can be used by just tapping on point of sale devices.