Reliance Jio and Google have entered into a commercial agreement to jointly develop entry-level affordable 4G and 5G smartphone with optimizations to the Android operating system and the Play Store to help smartphones reach more Indians.
“As India is standing at the doorsteps of the 5G era, we should accelerate the migration of 350 million Indians, who currently use a 2G feature phone, to an affordable smart phone,” Mukesh Ambani, RIL chairman said. “Google and Jio are partnering to build an Operating System that could power a value engineered, entry-level 4G/5G smartphone. The Jio-Google partnership is determined to make India 2G-mukt.”
“The time to increase our commitment to India’s significantly in collaboration with local companies and this partnership with Jio for us is really the first step of this,” Sameer Samat VP of Product Management, Android and Google Play to ET in an exclusive interaction. “Our mission is really that everyone should be able to have a smartphone.”
“We want to work with Jio and other leaders in the local ecosystem to ensure that smartphones—together with the apps and services in the Play Store—are within reach for many more Indians across the country. And we believe the pace of Indian innovation means that the experiences we create for India can ultimately be expanded to the rest of the world,” he added.
The majority of people in India still don’t have access to the internet and fewer still own a smartphone. Mukesh Ambani said that India still has 350 million feature phone users, and added that 100 million feature phone users have upgraded to Jio 4G feature phone.
Samat said that Google that its goal is to “rethink” from the ground up how millions more in India can get to be owners of smartphones and benefit.
He added that both companies are aiming to break the connectivity and accessibility barriers by optimizing the Android operating system and the Play Store so that more users can get access to this technology.
“Android’s mission has always been about bringing the power of computing to everyone and because of this Android has always been open and we’ve partnered with a large ecosystem to bring smartphones to consumers in many different places and countries all over the world, including India at different price points and so forth India,” he said.
Google said that it has been making progress through various global initiatives to improved access to smartphone technology. “Android Go that we launched several years ago and have continued to make improvements to that program continues, we’re very pleased with the progress there’s over 100 million users globally,” he added.