Indian telecom major Reliance Jio has reportedly been working with Google to bring affordable 4G smartphones. However, late last year it was reported that the project is facing delays and the phone was expected to launch in Q1 this year.
Now it seems Covid-19 and chipset delays may have further impacted the launch, however, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai has confirmed that the project is still in the works.
“We are focused on building an affordable phone… We are committed to making progress on the project and we are working with them (Jio),” said Pichai in a virtual interview with a set of journalists from the Asia Pacific. He, however, did not divulge key details about the affordable 4G phone like- launch date, pricing or specifications during the call.
According to previous reports, both Google and Jio joined hands to make extremely affordable 4G phones that can help increase 4G penetration in rural areas. Jio calls this campaign “2G mukt Bharat” which literally means that the company wants to bring all the 2G users to faster connectivity and aims to sell over 200 million such devices.
The upcoming devices are expected to be a joint effort of Jio, Google and Qualcomm and are expected to have a customized Android version that could run on cheaper Qualcomm chipsets. Incidentally, both Google and Qualcomm had picked up a stake in Jio Platforms last year.
In a related piece of news, Jio is rumoured to be working towards launching a couple of interesting devices later this year. Reports suggest that the company is gearing towards announcing an affordable 5G smartphone and the rumoured Jio Book at the company’s AGM slated to be held during the second half of this year.
It has been reported that the JioBook is being developed in a collaboration with a Chinese company called Bluebank Communication Technology while the custom version of Android being developed for budget Android devices may be called JioOS.