Jio Phone 5G is expected to introduce millions of feature phones to next-generation telecom technology
The device will take a few weeks after launch to appear in open markets
Reliance Industries is expected to announce a few noteworthy developments related to the telecom industry during its 44th annual general meeting (AGM) on June 24, Thursday. One of them could be Jio's roadmap for 5G rollout in India, and the other pertaining to the extremely affordable Jio Phone 5G.
The latest entrant under the Jio Phone line-up is slated to be an Android-sporting low-cost 5G device that is cheap enough to bring millions of 2G feature phone users over to the next-generation telecom technology. The specifications are likely to reflect the modest price tag. Meanwhile, Google is working on a version of Android designed specifically to match these bare minimum specifications.
Reliance Jio has partnered with Google to develop the software for its upcoming 5G smartphone. It is going to be a barebone avatar of the Android OS that can be run easily on the low-end device. The Mountain-View-based tech giant had bought 7.7 per cent stake in the Indian telecom firm for ₹33,737 crore last year. The partnership involved developing an affordable 5G smartphone.
Jio Phone 5G launch date, price, availability
Jio Phone 5G is most likely to be unveiled at the Reliance AGM on Thursday, followed by official market debut a few months later.
Reliance has not let out any leaks related to the price of Jio Phone 5G, however that has not stopped speculations. Jio's upcoming 5G device is not only going to undercut existing 5G smartphones by a huge margin, but is also expected to be cheaper than some 4G phones.
A Bloomberg report had pegged the price of Jio Phone 5G at ₹4,000, however some reports have indicated it might be closer to ₹5,000. We will have to wait for the official confirmation, though.
As for availability, buyers will have to wait for a few weeks before the Jio 5G device arrives in open market, probably through the Jio website. Although Reliance had planned to sell 200 million units of the device within two years, initially it is going to maintain a limited inventory, it seems. The limited stocks at are due to difficulties in production due to supply chain problems.
The first Jio Phone was a feature phone with 4G capabilities. The second Jio Phone saw an upgrade to a QWERTY keyboard, but still far from being a smartphone. Both devices used to run on KaiOS, with watered down versions of WhjatsApp and Google Assistant available for users. Compared to these, Jio Phone 5G is expected to be a full-fledged smartphone.
The 5G device will run on a minimalistic version of Android, courtesy the partnership with Google, developed specifically to match its bare minimum specifications. This operating system is likely to be lighter than Android Go, which Google developed a few years back for entry-level smartphones and might be called JioOS.
As for hardware specifications, little to nothing is known. If the expectation of extremely low price is to be met, Jio will have to look for similarly cheap 5G mobile processors. The most viable option among popular choices seems to be Snapdragon 480 SoC, the cheapest 5G-enabled processor Qualcomm builds. But there is no guarantee that Jio will go for this. Meanwhile, current budget MediaTek processors with 5G muscle do not fit in the price range Jio Phone is rumoured to target.
The possibility that Jio might source the silicon for Jio Phone 5G from a different supplier cannot be dismissed either. The telecom operator has Intel among its shareholders, which is one of the players in the 5G space. Intel recently said that it will work with the Indian company on 5G technology, but that is supposed to be on networks and not devices. We will have to wait for further developments on this front.
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