Google CEO Sundar Pichai has confirmed the launch of JioPhone Next smartphone by Diwali. He spoke candidly about the budget device and the digital transformation in India. The JioPhone Next features premium localised capabilities and is on track to launch in-market by Diwali, Pichai said.
“On India, I think, obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard. But through it all, the people are looking for access and there’s definitely been a wave of people who have adopted smartphones, and there is still – we see the demand for people looking to shift from feature phones to smartphones,” Pichai said.
Pichai said he is excited about the partnership with Jio in “building a phone and really investing beyond just English and getting languages and getting the local right for people and doing it in a way that many more people can take advantage of a smartphone”.
He emphasised that the device will open up new possibilities for millions of new users who will experience the internet for the very first time. “So I view it [the launch of Jiophone Next] as laying the foundation. It’s a version of digital transformation and palpable, the demand we see. And I think over a 3- to 5-year time frame, it will end up having a lot of impact. But overall, India, just like the Asia Pacific continues to be an exciting market for us. We see strength across the categories we are involved in. And so you’ll continue to see us stay focused there," he said.
Earlier in June, while talking about JioPhone Next, Pichai had said, “Our teams have optimised a version of our Android OS, especially for this device… 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."
Earlier this week, Jio detailed several features of JioPhone Next. In a “Making of JioPhone Next" film, Jio reiterated that JioPhone Next, similar to its other services, is “Made in India, Made for India and Made by Indians”. The device aims to ensure that every Indian gets an equal opportunity and equal access to digital technology. Notably, the video also teases the design of the smartphone that clearly highlights a 13-megapixel camera at the back.
The video revealed that JioPhone Next will run on Pragati OS, powered by Android. It has been engineered by both Jio and Google to bring Pragati (meaning progress) for all while offering a seamless experience at an affordable cost. Reliance Jio has also announced the phone will feature a Qualcomm mobile processor, but the exact chipset model remains unclear. The processor is said to optimise device performance, audio and battery.