At a milestone event yesterday, Google announced an investment of $4.5 Billion on Jio Platforms Ltd. This investment is part of a bigger $10 billion commitment from Google. At the same event, Jio head Mukesh Ambani announced a commercial agreement to develop an entry-level Android smartphone.
Ambani said that the partnership is aimed at building a value-engineered Android smartphone OS. Through this partnership, he said that the national mission of giving every Indian a smartphone will be achieved.
While the exact information about the device is not known yet, Jio is expected to launch more affordable 4G and 5G devices soon. Further, an Indian tipster has said that a mysterious Reliance smartphone codenamed RC545L has hit FCC certification. However, we are not sure if this is the device to be expected in India.
This comes at the wake of $10 Billion Digitization Fund that Google had promised, a few days back. The company plans to accelerate India’s digital economy in the next five years.
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Ditching KaiOS for well established Android
Google in its blog described the smartphone as an entry-level device with optimizations to Android and Play Store. The last phone from Jio was a feature phone and ran KaiOS. Though the similarity is based on Linux, the Firefox OS modified KaiOS relies heavily on web-based applications. It’s a feature phone OS than comes out-of-the-box and ready for basic needs.
Hence, with the partnership, Jio hopes to get a basic smartphone with a well established operating system to every nook and corner of India. While the specifics of it were not revealed, it could be a tweaked version of Google’s Android Go project. But we will have to wait a bit more to confirm the claim.
Google’s services to reach every nook and corner of villages
Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai said,
“Our collaboration will focus on increasing access for hundreds of millions of Indians who don’t currently own a smartphone while improving the mobile experience for all”
With the new smartphones, users will be able to access the Google Play Store and use basic apps like Gmail, Google Maps, Hangouts, among others.
Ambani added that he wanted the country to get “2G Mukt” soon. This means getting rid-off the older network and offer more affordable 4G and 5G smartphones. Exciting times are ahead and let’s wait for more details regarding them. The company also announced it was getting ready for a home-grown 5G network that will be developed in-house by Jio.