Reliance Jio may be planning to follow up its JioPhone with an Android-powered device. According to a report by Factor Daily, the company has stopped further production of the JioPhone, and is in talks to bring out an Android phone. As per the report, Jio is in talks with Google to reduce the royalty fee for Android. To recall, the JioPhone runs on KaiOS. A company insider told the website that “there are not enough apps compatible with KaiOS but people are working on developing special versions for the JioPhone.” If the company does introduce an Android-powered smartphone, it is not yet known if it will discontinue the current JioPhone.
Update: Following this story, Reliance Jio has sent out a statement on the matter. The company said, “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.”
The JioPhone is a feature phone that was effectively free. The catch being that the customer would have to place a downpayment of Rs 1,500, which would be returned after three years provided that the customer had done a minimum about of recharges.
Pre-bookings for the JioPhone had touched 6 million and shipping of the phone kicked off last month. The company also noted that the device would first be delivered to customers in rural areas. However, Jio faced flak from customers due to delayed deliveries of the device. Since then, Airtel, Vodafone and BSNL have come up with their own take on an ultra affordable device.
Airtel was one of the first to launch a competitor to the JioPhone. The telecom operator partnered with Karbonn to make the A40 Indian 4G smartphone available at an effective price of Rs 1,399. Micromax and BSNL also worked together to release the Bharat 1 4G feature phone at Rs 2,200. In addition, Vodafone also launched an affordable smartphone by partnering with Micromax to launch the Bharat 2 Ultra 4G smartphone at Rs 999. However, the phone has to be purchased at Rs 2,899, and buyers would have to perform a recharge of Rs 150 a month in order to avail the cashback offer.