Google & Reliance Jio To Launch Low-Cost Smartphone In India

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According to recent reports in the Indian media, the country’s fastest growing telecom company, Reliance Jio, has apparently been working with American tech giant Google to develop a low-cost 4G VoLTE smartphone that will work only on the former’s telecom network. The carrier already sells a number of Android-based devices on its network as part of its popular ‘Lyf’ lineup, but those devices are sold unlocked and work with the LTE networks of other telecom companies in the country as well. The rumored device, according to The Hindu Business Line, is expected to be launched by the end of this year. Recent reports in the country’s mainstream media has also suggested that Reliance Jio has also been working on its very first 4G-enabled feature phone that is expected to be launched in the coming weeks.

As for the reported partnership between Google and Reliance Jio, industry insiders quoted by the aforementioned publication seem to be of the opinion that both parties see it as a win-win situation, whereby the Google-branding will help Reliance Jio sell the smartphone in large numbers, while tying up with a large customer-oriented local company will help the Mountain View, California-based tech giant to reach a larger audience in one of the fastest-growing large economies in the world. However, low-cost smartphones are apparently not the only things the two companies are working on at the moment. According to the report, Google and Jio have also been working on developing software for latter’s smart TV services, which are expected to be launched later this year.

According to Greyhound Research CEO, Mr. Sanchit Gogia, the partnership with Jio will help the search giant gain access to a “large number of new users who would be connecting to the Internet for the first time”. The tie-up is also expected to help Google properly assess its low-cost smartphone strategy, which has been a non-starter so far with the failure of the much talked-about Android One initiative. That particular project was born out of Google’s ambition to reach ‘the next billion’ users around the world, and was launched as far back as in September 2014, with the announcement of three entry-level handsets in partnership with Indian smartphone vendors Micromax, Karbonn and Spice. Sadly for Google, the devices received a lukewarm response from the media as well as the public at large, so the company will be hoping that its continuing efforts at a low-cost Android revolution will be more successful this time around.