India’s RIL (Reliance Industries Ltd.) has announced an effectively free LTE handset at their 40th annual general meeting. Free comes with one catch; an initial security deposit of Rs 1500 or about 23 USD, which is refundable if the phone is returned after 36 months or three years.
The handset itself is a hark back to days of old. There is no touch screen here and navigation is accomplished by a directional pad. Since there is no touchscreen, typing is completed by the number pad.
That being said, this phone also has some great benefits. The obvious one being — it is free. Other included features here are support for 4G LTE and VoLTE, a QVGA resolution display, FM radio support, a dedicated SD card slot for expansion, the often-missed 3-quarter headphone jack and a dedicated button for a torch light. The JioPhone also has the ability to utilize voice commands allowing the user to get messages out quickly without touching the number pad. Maybe the best part of the JioPhone is the NFC support allowing quick payments on the go.
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The JioPhone; being in the Jio ecosystem comes with apps like JioCinema and JioMusic and has the ability to connect to an external display. This makes the JioPhone a nice little media player and it’s portability makes it ideal for people that’s don’t like the bulk of a lot of today’s current handsets.
The JioPhone looks like it could be a real game changer in India’s mobile market. With companies like Xiaomi trying to build a larger user base, a free phone with nice specs and support for Jio’s high speed mobile network; it could be just want Jio is hoping for.
Pre-ordering of the JioPhone will begin August 24th with the handset available sometime in September of this year.