The JioPhone Next is a low-cost smartphone for the Indian market developed by Reliance Jio and Google. First announced earlier this year, the phone goes on sale in India next week for 6,499 Rupees, or about $87.
For the most part the phone has the sort of specs you’d expect from a budget device. But Google’s involvement means it will receive some extra features including support for reading text aloud, translating languages for on-screen text, and better photography features than you’d expect from a phone in this price range. Google is also promising to deliver new capabilities regularly through feature drops as well as security updates.
The JioPhone Next has a 5.45 inch, 1440 x 720 pixel display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 215 processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a microSD card reader, headphone jack, and a 3,500 mAh battery, dual SIM support, and 13MP rear and 8MP front-facing cameras.
The camera works with Google’s Camera Go software and has support for snapping HDR photos for better low-light photography, among other things. Google says it’s also partnered with Snap to offer some Indian-specific Snapchat Lenses in the Camera Go app.
While you’d think that the inclusion of “Go” apps would indicate that the phone would ship with Google’s Android Go software, which is optimized for low-cost devices with limited specs, the JioPhone Next will actually ship with a customized version of Android called Pragati OS.
But aside from the fact that the phone comes with some Jio apps pre-installed as well as bonus features like Read Aloud and Translate Now with support 10 different Indian languages, it seems like Pragati and Android Go are pretty similar.
The JioPhone Next will be available exclusively in India, but it’s an interesting example of what a partnership between Google and a regional phone carrier looks like when designing a smartphone experience that balances a low price tag with a robust set of features.
via @reliancejio, Google, TechCrunch and MySmartPrice
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So, correct me if I’m wrong, but it would seem that they built…a completely normal phone.
The hardware contains nothing unusual. The 215 is a basic quad-core A53 chip, which is not very impressive, but it’s not all that out of the ordinary. It’s nice that they’re not still making 8/16 GB budget devices.
The extra Google features are all things that existing Google apps do. Google Translate isn’t news to anyone reading here, so all they have to do is preinstall it (like every Android device) and optionally predownload the offline translation files which any user with a data connection could already do. It also reads text aloud.
I was really interested in the JioPhones that had qwerty keyboards and ran KaiOS. Now, not so much. Stupid Google meddling again.
They still sell those. I don’t have a problem with giving people a choice to run Android if they need to.
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