GPS Mandatory For Feature Phones; Facebook Is Jio Phone’s First 3rd Party App!
Govt. had directed all phone makers to include a panic button on all phones and GPS is one of the basic requirements for it to work.
Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) has made a special, and urgent request to Department of Telecom to make GPS or Global Positioning System mandatory in all feature phones, as soon as possible.
A notification from DoT is expected to arrive any time now, mentioning the deadline.
Meanwhile, Facebook has become the first 3rd party app on Jio phones, which has been made from scratch using KaiOS.
We had recently shared how Jio Phones have become the top-selling feature phones in India, beating Samsung. Now, with the introduction of Facebook, and soon to be launched WhatsApp app, things can drastically change for this segment.
GPS On Feature Phones: The Controversy
In 2015, Govt had announced that every mobile sold in India will have a panic button, which can help any user in distress to contact emergency help. The same has been made mandatory for all vehicles as well.
However, for the panic button to work, GPS is mandatory.
For time being, feature phones were exempted from this order, and all smartphones were asked to have this panic button, as they already have GPS by default.
Now, WCD is forcing DoT to make sure that feature phones also have GPS, so that they can be powered with the panic button without any delay.
But, it seems that feature phone makers are resisting this move, and allegedly some heated exchange has taken place during discussions between WCD, Telecom Minister and phone makers.
An official from WCD said,
“While GPS could raise the cost of a phone by Rs. 200, we feel people will be willing to pay extra. It is in the interest of the safety of people. We have seatbelts and airbags in cars which raise costs but people pay for them as they are an essential safety feature,”
On the other hand, feature phone makers are stating that GPS based panic button may not be the perfect tool to contact emergency help, as tracking via triangulation of mobile phone towers becomes an issue in rural areas, where towers are placed far apart.
We are still awaiting the final call from the telecom ministry on this issue.
A panic button on all mobile was a project which was supposed to start from January 26th this year.
Facebook Is Jio Phone’s First 3rd Party App!
Meanwhile, Jio phone will be finally loaded with a customized Facebook app, which has been made from scratch on KaiOS, which powers Jio Phones.
Francisco Varela, vice-president of Mobile Partnerships, Facebook said,
“We are excited about our partnership with Jio and the opportunity to provide the best possible Facebook experience for millions of people using Jio Phone”
Jio Phone users can download the app from JioAppStore.
Jio’s touch phones will have features like timeline view, push notifications and video playback capabilities; while non-touch phones will have access to the news feed and photos via cursor function.