Jio Phone May Have Found Its Killer Feature; Staying Relevant In A World Of Smartphones
Can it manage to keep the users interested for 3 long years?
When the Jio Phone was first rumoured, it created a ripple of anticipation. Though it was known to be a feature phone, the fact that it could support 4G VoLTE was the source of excitement.
But as more and more specifications and details emerged, the phone was found to be lacking in several key areas of importance. Inability to run any of the apps people are used to, was one of them.
Sure, the phone would sell in large numbers in Tier 2 cities and rural areas because of its low price. But it seemed Jio was not paying attention to users and potential customers from mainly metropolitan areas.
So, What Has Changed?
It has emerged that the owner of Jio, Mr. Mukesh Ambani is purported to be in talks with engineers at WhatsApp to have a Lite version of everybody’s favourite messenger app developed for the Jio Phone.
As per a report by Factor Daily, the discussions are still at a very infant stage. The plan however, is to modify and optimise the app specially for the Jio Phone.
Why The Need?
The Jio Phone’s main selling point, along with the low price, is the attractive Rs. 153/- per month plan. But, as observed by a recent JP Morgan report, the said plan will not be enough to keep the user tied-in for a 3-year period.
It is like giving you Rs. 10,000/- a month for shopping, every month for the next 3 years. But the condition says that you can use that money for shopping, only in the jungle!
Eventually, the users will get bored of a smart feature phone, if all they can do is calls and some basic internet browsing.
Jio wants a differentiator for their debut phone and this is where WhatsApp comes in.
WhatsApp has become the de-facto messaging app in India today. Even the most basic smartphone user knows enough to be able to send and receive messages and other content via WhatsApp.
Mr. Ambani is hoping that the lure of WhatsApp is enough, for now, for people to change their existing operators and invest in a Jio Phone for 3 years.
We’re saying “For now” because even the sheen of WhatsApp is bound to fade after some time. With a phone as boring as the Jio Phone, Mr. Ambani will keep having to turn new tricks a regular intervals in order to keep people invested in Jio Phone for 3 long years.
Whether that happens, remains to be seen. It is going to be a long road ahead for the Jio Phone and the road definitely isn’t going to be a bed of roses.
Will you consider investing in the Jio Phone for 3 long years? It’s an easy “No” for the lot of us already using smartphones. But for majority of people out there who cannot afford a decent smartphone, the choice is a lot tougher.
Be sure to share your opinion in the comments below. Let Reliance Jio know what India thinks of the Jio Phone.