- Reliance Jio is looking to outsource and manufacture over 10 crore low-cost smartphones in India.
- The phones which will be bundled by data packs are slated for December 2020
- The low-cost phones will be built on Google's Android.
Reliance Jio is looking to outsource and manufacture over 10 crore low-cost smartphones in India. The low-cost phones will be built on Google's Android, as per a report by Business Standard. The phones which will be bundled by data packs are slated for December 2020 or early next year. It is not clear if these phones will have 4G or 5G connectivity. At Reliance's virtual annual general meeting in July, Reliance CEO, Mukesh Ambani announced Reliance Jio's commercial pact with Google to jointly develop entry-level affordable 4G and possibly 5G smartphones for a '2G mukt Bharat' (free of 2G India) in the future.
The announcement came after Google invested Rs 33,737 crore in Jio Platforms for a 7.7 per cent stake. "We believe we can design an entry-level 4G or even 5G smartphone for a fraction of its current cost. To power such a value-engineered smartphone, we also need an equally value-engineered operating system and such an operating system must be designed from grounds-up," Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries had said.
Google CEO, Sundar Pichai in the event had said, "Our investment of $4.5 billion in Jio is the first -- and the biggest -- investment we will make through this (Google for India Digitization Fund fund. I am excited that our joint collaboration will focus on increasing access for hundreds of millions of Indians who don't currently own a smartphone...while improving the mobile experience for all."
As per the report, Chinese firms sell roughly eight of every 10 smartphones in the country. The upcoming Jio phones are likely to pose a challenge to Chinese vendors such as Xiaomi and BBK Electronics, owner of the Realme, Oppo, and Vivo brands that currently dominate a $2 billion market for sub-$100 smartphones in India.
Reliance launched Jio Phone in 2017 in India which has more than 100 million users, many of whom are internet first-timers. The low-cost Android phones will also attract more subscribers to Reliance plans from other telecom companies who still offer 2G/3G network on low-cost smartphones.
Reliance has global financial and tech backing from investors like Facebook, Intel and Qualcomm.