Jiophone Next GoogleSource: Jio Platforms

What you need to know

  • Reliance Jio has announced its first Android-powered smartphone.
  • The JioPhone Next has been developed in collaboration with Google and promises to deliver an "optimized" Android experience.
  • It is slated to go on sale in India from September 10.

Indian telecom giant Jio Platforms has announced an "ultra-affordable" new Android smartphone called JioPhone Next, developed in collaboration with Google.

The JioPhone Next has been developed for people looking to upgrade to a smartphone from 2G feature phones. Despite being the world's second-largest smartphone market, smartphone penetration in India still stands below 50%.

It comes with a built-in voice assistant, a "smart camera" with AR filters, language translation, and automatic read-aloud of screen text. Unfortunately, the company hasn't announced any details regarding phone's specs.

As you would expect from an entry-level device, the device doesn't look anywhere near as modern as the best cheap Android phones. It features a single camera on the back, and the bezels surrounding the display are extremely thick.

VPN Deals: Lifetime license for $16, monthly plans at $1 & more

Reliance Jiophone NextSource: Jio / YouTube

On the software front, the JioPhone Next runs a custom version of Android that Google has been created specifically for Jio. In addition to the full suite of Google apps, the phone will also come pre-installed with Jio Apps such as My Jio, Jio Cinema, Jio TV, and more.

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, said in a statement:

Our vision was to bring affordable access to information for Indians in their own language, to build new products and services for India's unique needs, and to empower businesses with technology.

I'm excited that today, we can announce the next steps in this vision, starting with a new, affordable Jio smartphone, created with Google. Our teams have optimized a version of our Android OS especially for this device. It will offer language and translation features, a great camera, and support for the latest Android updates.

The entry-level phone will be available for purchase in India from September 10. Jio Platforms says the phone will eventually make its way to a few other markets as well. While the JioPhone Next's price is yet to be revealed, Reliance claims it will be "the most affordable smartphone globally."