Report: Reliance JioPhone production on Hold, Exploring Possibility of an Android Device
On July 21st this year, Reliance Industries chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani unveiled the heavily-anticipated JioPhone amidst much fanfare. The effectively-free feature phone aimed to bring 4G to the masses at a price of ₹1,500, which would be refunded after a period of three years.
The ‘effectively priced Rs 0′ JioPhone has taken the market by storm, and the company is having a difficult time keeping up with the pre-orders. So much that the pre-orders had to be stalled for a while.
According to a report by Factor Daily, the company has stopped the production of JioPhone as it is in talks to bring out an Android-based smartphone. The report further highlights that the brand is in negotiations with Google to bring down the royalty for Android. The publication cites three independent sources who claim that the JioPhone’s production has come to a halt, since its closed ecosystem of KaiOS can’t be compared with the flexibility and app support on Android.
At the moment, Jio is offering its suite of apps including JioTV, JioMusic, and JioChat, among others. However, there’s no real compatibility with other platforms or Apps, hence even basic popular apps like Whatsapp are currently unavailable.
Analysts suggest that the brand might even opt for a lightweight version of Google’s OS, dubbed as Android Go, which was announced at this year’s Google I/O. Android Go is a new platform, a light version of Android O that will work smoothly on extremely inexpensive, ultra entry-level phones.
The move is meant to compete with the likes of Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea. Airtel recently tied up with Karbonn to launch a new smartphone at an effective price of ₹1,399. Vodafone India also partnered with Micromax to launch a new affordable 4G-enabled smartphone known as Bharat 2 Ultra at an effective price of ₹999.