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WhatsApp Should do The Maths And Support JioPhone Running KaiOS

Facebook-owned WhatsApp cannot afford to miss out on the JioPhone opportunity, especially for the quick success of WhatsApp payments in India.

Debashis Sarkar | News18.com@SarkDeb

Updated:September 26, 2017, 7:02 PM IST
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WhatsApp Should do The Maths And Support JioPhone Running KaiOS
The JioPhone with the entire gamut of online services for a price of Rs 1,500 is a digital hope for people who cannot afford the luxury of Internet. Watch the video. (Image: News18.com)
Since the time Reliance Industry Chairman Mukesh Ambani had announced the JioPhone, unavailability of popular apps like WhatsApp has been a concern. With the commencement of JioPhone deliveries, the demand for WhatsApp support is slowly growing. WhatsApp may sound like a big ask from a ‘feature phone’ which effectively costs Rs 0, but its unavailability is seen as a so-called drawback.

Also read: JioPhone Bookings: How to Book a Slot and Buy The Reliance Jio Phone
With support for WhatsApp, the JioPhone could seriously put a question mark on low cost Android handsets priced under Rs 5,000. The JioPhone is powered by KaiOS. So, for WhatsApp to work on it, the developers will have to create a new KaiOS-based WhatsApp version. So, the ball is clearly on WhatsApp’s court here.

WATCH VIDEO: Reliance JioPhone First Impressions Review



The JioPhone is not a restricted feature phone at all. Dubbed as ‘India Ka Smartphone’, WhatsApp creating a KaiOS-based simple chat app could mean a win-win deal for both parties.

Why WhatsApp should support JioPhone?

Reliance Industry Chairman Mukesh Ambani during the company’s AGM in July had shared that India mobile handset market stands at a total of 78 crore (780 million). Out of which 50 crore (500 million) are feature phones and the JioPhone targets this major chunk of feature phone users who are unable to ride the Android bandwagon because they cannot afford to.

WhatsApp had also announced in July that they had garnered 1.3 billion (130 crore) monthly active users. Now, what’s next for WhatsApp? The team has looked beyond regular app feature updates to get the next billion and JioPhone is just the right opportunity. Also, with WhatsApp still dragging support for Windows Mobile and BlackBerry 10 (till December 2017), a KaiOS app for the JioPhone could fetch better ROI.

Keeping WhatsApp payments in mind, it would be highly unlikely that the WhatsApp team would want to miss the JioPhone opportunity with a 50 crore (500 million) subscriber base. WhatsApp is expected to facilitate instant money transfer (bank-to-bank) via the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) transaction platform very soon in India.

Also read: Reliance JioPhone First Impressions Review: Tears of Joy Guaranteed

Additionally, JioPhone supports NFC payments. This means the majority of the population is ‘future-proof’ when digital payments finally take off in the country. NFC payments in JioPhone could put to shame most budget Android smartphones. Also, Facebook has already confirmed its native app for the JioPhone. This means there is a huge possibility that WhatsApp could be introduced as well.

(Disclosure: News18.com is part of Network18 Media & Investment Limited which is owned by Reliance Industries Limited)

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