India-Based Reliance Jio Is Making Its Own Android Go Device

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If reports out of the company’s home region are anything to go by, India-based telecom Reliance Jio may be working on its very own Android Go smartphone for launch at some point during Q1 2018. That’s according to new information that was provided during a MediaTek press conference by TL Lee, who currently acts as Business unit Head of Wireless Communication Product at MediaTek. Unfortunately, details about the as-yet-unnamed device are still relatively slim since no design features or specifications were provided for the handset. However, Lee did admit that MediaTek has partnered with the mobile service provider to design and manufacture the device.

Thankfully, the new device’s dependence on Android Go does provide at least a starting point in ascertaining what kind of device Reliance Jio’s handset will be. That’s because Android Go is designed primarily as an operating system – based on Android 8.0 (Oreo) – for extremely low-spec devices. In fact, Android Go is specifically optimized for devices with less than 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage, so the smartphone in question will almost definitely fall below those thresholds. It can also be guessed with relative certainty that other components, including the presumably MediaTek-built SoC, will be at or near the bottom of what is available. While none of that is necessarily required for an Android Go device, using more affordable components results in a product with a drastically reduced price that still performs admirably. Finally, it goes without saying that because this will presumably be a Reliance Jio-branded device, it is only going to be designed to work with that company’s network and will undoubtedly only be released in India.

Meanwhile, this will not be the only Android Go smartphone to launch in the region this year. Another device, the Micromax Bharat Go is expected to be released for around $30 toward the end of the quarter. However, Lee also suggested that MediaTek would be behind the first Android Go handset releasing in India for the year. It isn’t immediately clear whether he meant the Micromax device or Reliance Jio’s handset since the former device is expected to arrive at some point near the end of this quarter.