When Reliance makes an announcement, it probably has a scope to make a dent in the industry. This is what exactly happened when Mukesh Ambani, Reliance’s Chairman and Managing Director, announced that the company is working on a budget 4G phone designed especially for Indian users.
He revealed in the AGM held in June that the cheapest 4G smartphone in India will be available on Ganesh Chaturthi this year i.e. September 10, however, this has been deferred. The company has now stated that the phone is still under testing and will be released before Diwali - thus enjoying the maximum benefit of festive season sales.
Though we are just a few days away from the official unveiling of the smartphone, we only have a handful of information about the phone. This is because, unlike other smartphone makers, Reliance’s products are not a part of the regular rumour mill that keeps churning out information about the unreleased devices way ahead of the launch.
The JioPhone Next is made in collaboration with Google and comes with features that are customized to run on a low specced smartphone. It will support Google Assistant, Google Assistant, Chrome Go, Camera Go and Duo Go. The camera app on the JioPhone Next is expected to come with a Snapchat filter built-in and will have an HDR mode.
Even Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai revealed that the JioPhone will offer language and translation features, a great camera, and support for the latest Android updates.
Prior to the JioPhone Next, the company had launched a 4G feature phone called JioPhone that was available to purchase virtually free of charge. It was followed by JioPhone 2 – another 4G feature phone but this time with a slightly larger display and blackberry-like Qwerty keypad. There are rumours that the company is working on a budget 5G phone as well that may be launched sometime later next year.
Cut to the chase:
- What is it? Cheapest 4G phone
- When is it out? Before Diwali
- How much will it cost? Starting at Rs. 5,000 (expected)
JioPhone Next release date and pricing
While Jio had announced that the JioPhone Next will be available starting September 10, however, due to the chip shortage the launch has been deferred. According to an official release, the JioPhone Next will now be available right before Diwali. Since Reliance doesn’t launch too many devices every year, the focus will remain on this phone and is expected to be available via major e-commerce stores and most offline retail stores across the country on the launch date.
In terms of pricing, though we’re waiting for an official announcement, the JioPhone Next is expected to be the cheapest 4G phone available globally. For the official pricing, we will have to wait just a couple of days more. There are some reports suggesting that the JioPhone Next could come in multiple variants priced at Rs. 5000 and Rs. 7000 respectively. Another update suggested that the phone can be pre-booked for Rs. 500.
JioPhone Next design and display
In terms of design, the JioPhone Next doesn’t look different from any budget 4G phone available in the market as of now. It comes with a flat display on the front with noticeable bezels on the top and bottom. The selfie camera and the earpiece are located above the display and there are no physical buttons on the front of the device.
The power button and the volume rocker are located on the right side of the phone and on the back, we have the rear-facing camera along with a flash, Jio branding at the centre and a speaker grille at the bottom.
Since it’s a budget-focused phone, it will have a headphone jack and most probably it will be located at the bottom alongside the charging port.
JioPhone Next specs
The JioPhone Next, unlike most other smartphones, won’t be about specs but will be about affordability and finding ways to offer maximum featured under a shoestring budget. It is aimed at users who probably haven’t used a smartphone ever in their life and have been dependent on 2G connectivity.
With the JioPhone Next, the company plans to upgrade these users and the users who’ve been using its predecessors like JioPhone and JioPhone 2. We’ve done a quick video about the JioPhone Next (opens in new tab) on TechRadar India’s YouTube channel under the #TechShastra series.
The fully-featured 4G phone is expected to come with a 5.5-inch display boasting HD+ resolution, a Snapdragon 215 Chipset coupled with up to 3GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage. The JioPhone Next could ship with a 2500mAh battery and will run on Android 11 Go Edition. Google has promised regular software updates for the phone as well.