Reliance Industries has previously been reported to be working on 4G VoLTE-enabled feature phones to better leverage the Reliance Jio network in rural regions. Now, a new report claims Google and Reliance Jio have joined hands to develop an affordable 4G VoLTE smartphone together that works exclusively on the latter’s network.
The news follows a statement by Google CEO Sundar Pichai during his visit to India in January, when he said there is a great need for $30 (roughly Rs. 2,000) smartphones in the country. In a report on Monday, the Hindu Business Line cites industry sources familiar with the matter to claim the affordable 4G smartphone jointly developed by Google and Reliance Jio will be launched before the end of the year.
The Google-branding will help Reliance Jio sell the smartphone, the report adds, while also reaching a larger audience. Preloaded Jio apps will also be better integrated with the Android platform, the report claims.
Elaborating on Google’s motivation for the partnership, the report cites Greyhound Research CEO to claim the Mountain View giant would gain access to a “large number of new users who would be connecting to the Internet for the first time,” and also be able to properly assess its low-cost smartphone strategy.
The report adds that Google and Reliance Jio have separately partnered to develop software for the latter’s smart TV services – also due to be launched later this year.
We’ve reached out to Google and Reliance Jio to comment on the report, and will update this article once we get a response.
If true, it remains to be seen how the Google-Reliance Jio partnership ties up with the Mountain View company’s Android One plans, which are seemingly on hold for now. To recall, the Android One initiative aimed to put low-cost Google-certified Android smartphones in the hands of users whilst promising features like swift updates.