JioPhone Next: 5 things you need to know about this ultra-affordable smartphone

Could be available for as low as ₹500

The proliferation of 4G in India increased by leaps and bounds when Mr Ambani launched Reliance Jio, and gave away SIM cards for free ala Samuel L Jackson in the movie Kingsman: The Secret Service. Now, he’s gearing up for a similar effect with the launch of the JioPhone Next. 

The phone is touted as an ultra-affordable 4G smartphone being co-developed by Jio and Google. Needless to say, there’s a lot of buzz around this upcoming phone. Here are 5 things you need to know about the JioPhone Next.

When will it be available?

At the initial announcement, it was said that the JioPhone Next would be launched on September 10. But an announcement today reveals that there’s a bit of delay, and the launch has now been pushed to Diwali. 

The announcement says that the smartphone is “currently in advanced trials with a limited set of users”, and will roll out “ahead of Diwali”, which is on November 4. “This additional time,” as per the announcement, “will also help mitigate the current industry-wide, global semiconductor shortages”.

What is the price?

Among the highlights of the phone will no doubt be the low price point, making it more accessible to a wider audience. While there’s no official announcement yet, leaks hint at a sub-$50 price tag. A more recent leak has revealed an exact price tag of ₹3,499. Another leak even mentions a ‘JioPhone Next Advance’ with better features and a higher price tag of ₹7,000.  

As per reports, Jio is said to be working with banks to offer the JioPhone Next for as low as ₹500. The remaining amount will then be payable via easy installments. While it’s in line with what you would expect from Jio, we would still advise you to take these leaks with the proverbial pinch of salt.

Who is it for?

With a low price point, Jio is targeting first-time users who haven’t experienced a 4G smartphone and services before. It’s a similar aim to what the company proposed before launching the Jio carrier services. The company believes there’s a huge potential for an entry-level 4G smartphone, and expects to sell over 5 crore units within six months.

What about the specs?

Specs-wise there’s not a lot to write about, but then what do you expect from a phone you could buy for ₹500? As per rumours, it will come with a 5.5in HD display, and a Qualcomm QM215 SoC under the hood. 

Other expected features include up to 3GB of RAM and 32GB storage, 13MP rear camera with LED flash and Snapchat-like filters, 8MP selfie camera, a 2,500mAh battery, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Connectivity wise, there will be 4G VoLTE support, Bluetooth 4.2, and GPS.

What software will it run?

While the specs sheet won’t set benchmarking charts on fire, it is the software that will determine how useful this device will be. With its partnership with Google, the JioPhone Next will run Android 11 (Go edition), which is optimised for devices running entry-level specs. 

It will run a host of Google and Jio apps, and the built-in Play Store will let users download more apps. Google Assistant too will be onboard, along with text-to-speech and language translation capabilities.