JioPhone Next, the long-awaited product of the $4,5 billion collaboration between Reliance Industries and Google, was launched in stores for the height of this year’s Diwali festive season on November 4.
The Low-Cost 4G Smartphone Can be Bought with no Financing for ₹6,499
The JioPhone Next 4G smartphone can be bought for ₹ 6,499 (roughly $ 87) with no financing, or with an upfront payment of ₹ 1,999 and an EMI (equated monthly installment) plan of ₹ 300 to ₹ 600 for 18 to 24 months. All plans include a processing fee of ₹ 501 and feature limited or unlimited VoLTE calls, free daily or monthly mobile data, and complimentary access to Jio Apps.
JioPhone Next is available in JioMart Digital stores, jio.com or through WhatsApp, but buyers first need to register on the company’s website or through a WhatsApp message ‘Hi’ to 7018270182. Data service is available only through a Jio SIM card, but the second SIM slot can be used for voice calling by other service providers.
Jio and Google Target First-Time Smartphone Users
JioPhone Next operates under a special Pragati (Progress) operating system, developed on the basis of Google’s Android OS and is aimed at first-time buyers of smartphones. The device features quick translations in 10 Indian languages and English and a voice assistant that can read texts from the screen aloud.
“So I view it (the phone) as laying the foundation… And, you know, I think over a three- to five-year time frame, it will end up having a lot of impact,” commented Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai, stressing that the collaboration with Jio has focused on the investment in local languages in order to enable crores of new Indian users to use smartphones.
Domination of Chinese Brands Threatened
The pricing of the new JioPhone Next is set to induce major market share shifts in the smartphone segment, backed up by the bundling with Jio’s massive music and video content libraries. Besides caring to first time owners of smartphones with ease of use tools, the Google Android team will also provide JioPhone Next users with access to various apps connected with health, communications, and jobs, as explained by Google’s Android and Play vice president Sameer Samat.
An accurate picture of the current market segmentation is provided by a detailed study on which devices are the most frequently used among online gamblers in India conducted by casino industry researchers at ENV Media. The study scrutinizes arrays of primary datasets containing proprietary information and analytic feedback concerning players at Pure Win and other online real money gaming and casino platforms, and juxtaposes findings to publicly available secondary research data and industry reports.
Narrowing the scope to online gambling on smartphones, the market is dominated by Chinese brands, with South Korean Samsung also boosting sizable sales. American status symbol Apple has a rather modest market share, and the top 6 Android phones account for 89 per cent of the used smartphones.
Xiaomi is the current leader accounting for 23.38 per cent of the usage statistics, followed by Samsung with 19.24 per cent. The brands owned by BBK Electronics – Vivo (15.25 per cent), Oppo (10.68 per cent), and RealMe (8.87 per cent) take up the remaining top 5 spots, with global leader Huawei coming up at just 2.14 per cent. The premium smartphone segment is shared by Apple at 5.44 per cent and OnePlus with its 3.95 per cent.
The Product of a $ 4.5 Billion Investment
The new JioPhone Next is the result of a $4.5 billion investment by Alphabet’s Google into RILs (Reliance Industry Limited) Jio telecoms venture from early summer 2020, intended to target the market in India for smartphones below the $100 threshold estimated at $2 billion market.
A similar strategy was implemented by RIL in 2017 with the market launch of the first JioPhone – a basic feature phone low-priced at just $ 20. Currently, more than 100 million people use the JioPhone, many of them got their first access to the Internet with this device, and may want to switch to the new JioPhone Next.
“I’d like to try the new Reliance smartphone and since I’m already a Jio customer my first preference will be to remain with the network,” said two-year JioPhone user construction worker Rawil Ansari.