[Updated]Jio Phone No More? Rumors Suggest An Android-Based Jio Smartphone!
The new Jio Phone will be an Android-based smartphone as KaiOS has an extremely small number of popular apps.
Updated: Statement from Jio
“JioPhone, ‘India ka smartphone’ is committed to fulfilling the country’s digital vision. Jio welcomes the initial 6 million Indians who are moving to digital life with the JioPhone and will soon announce the next JioPhone booking date.”
Reliance Jio, it seems, has understood that closed-ecosystem like the Jio Phone rarely works in the world of smartphones. And competing against Android is futile, if one wants to capture market share.
Then what is the solution?
If you can’t beat them, join them.
Latest reports have emerged which strongly suggests that Jio may stop procuring their KaiOS based Jio Phones, and start selling Android based smartphones.
Now, the big question: will the price remain the same?
Jio May Stop Production Of Jio Phone!
As per FactorDaily’s reports, which we could not independently verify, few insiders have revealed that Jio now wants Android based smartphones, and most probably at the same price which they have offered their current Jio phones: Effectively zero.
If we believe the reports, then Jio may have already stopped procuring and buying their existing Jio Phones, which are based on KaiOS.
Around 10 million KaiOS based VoLTE phones have already been procured by Jio, and “will be shipped out soon and will first reach the smaller towns and villages,”, as per the source.
Hence, it is not yet clear whether KaiOS would co-exist with new Android based phones, or they will be stopped absolutely.
No official word has been forthcoming yet, from Jio officials.
Why Jio Phone May Be Discontinued?
The reason, it seems, is the close-ecosystem which Jio attempts to bring in, via their existing Jio Phone, which is based on KaiOS.
Now, Jio has included everything from cinema to games, music to news into their own suite of apps, but it seems things are not working fine.
Reports had emerged earlier that Jio will launch similar apps like Facebook and Google soon.
A person close to Jio Phone’s strategy said,
“There are not enough apps compatible with KaiOS but people are working on developing special versions for the JioPhone,”
Another ‘trusted’ source has said,
“It’s not that the target is changing… but a walled garden approach doesn’t work in mobile phones, it hasn’t worked in the past and it will not work in the future,”
As of now, Alcatel’s One Touch Go Flip phone and Intex’s Turbo 4G are two other phones which are based on KaiOS, and their sale have been dismal so far.
Faisal Kawoosa, principal analyst with CyberMedia Research informed FactorDaily:
“The expertise Google can bring with software is immense… It makes sense for Reliance to wait and go with Android Go. For Google, JioPhone can be an important vehicle to go after the next billion users,”
It seems Jio has taken the clue, and have decided not to fight a battle with Google and Facebook, and instead of creating their own world of apps, they will now depend on Android for the same.
What About Pricing Of New Jio Phone?
Pricing remains a mystery, as Android based smartphone is expensive, and subsidizing them may prove to be expensive.
Reports are also coming in that Jio is in talks with Google to lower licensing fees for Android, which can reduce the overall price.
Or else, Jio can go Airtel’s way, wherein they are partnering with handset vendors and attempting to launch sub-Rs 2500 Android smartphone, which would be bundled with Airtel’s plans.
Jaipal Singh, market analyst (client devices) with IDC said,
“The trend is about migrating from a feature phone to a phone that supports data… If the user can upgrade to a smartphone directly, that will be a game changer for Jio,”
Airtel and Lava’s bundled smartphone worth Rs 1699/- has been launched recently, whereas Airtel and Karbonn’s bundled handset was launched for Rs 1399/-.
Vodafone too has announced similar plans, and have already launched Rs 999/- worth bundled smartphone.
These all are Android based.
Jio embracing Android and then offering dirt cheap VoLTE smartphones would be certainly a big news for the entire industry.
As of now, there are 500 million feature phone users, but only 285 million smartphone users. And Jio’s role in transforming non-smartphone users into smartphone users would be certainly huge.
We will keep you updated as we receive more news.