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Google and Jio collaborate on ‘ultra-affordable’ JioPhone Next.

As part of an ongoing partnership, Google and Indian carrier Jio have announced the JioPhone Next. The device may be one of the most affordable Android smartphones ever produced.

JioPhone Next was announced by Mukesh Ambani at Reliance Industries' 44th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday.

Jio The Indian firm, which secured $4.5 billion investment from Google (and another $15.5 billion from Facebook and others) last year and shared plans to work on low-cost smartphones, said the JioPhone Next is aimed at helping roughly 300 million users in India who are still on 2G network upgrade their gadget to access faster networks.

The JioPhone Next.

Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani said the JioPhone Next would be an “ultra-affordable 4G smartphone,” but didn’t reveal exact pricing or full specs for the device. However, the company did say it will include voice assistant support, translation features, and a camera with support for augmented reality.


Today, Google says its work with the company is also expanding thanks to a new partnership that will see Jio Platforms parent company Reliance make use of Google’s Cloud platform, shifting its core retail business onto Google’s infrastructure.

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The JioPhone Next will ship with a range of features, including Read Aloud and Translate Now that will work with any text on the phone screen, including web pages, apps, messages, and even photos.

It also features a “fast, high-quality camera” which will support HDR, and the JioPhone Next will be protected by latest Android releases and security updates, Google said, though it didn’t share the precise duration for this coverage. (Smartphone vendors typically offer security and new Android software support for about two years after the launch.)

“We have worked closely with the Jio team on engineering and product development on useful voice-first features that enable these users to consume content and navigate the phone in their own language, deliver a great camera experience, and get the latest Android feature and security updates,” Google said in a statement.

Why is this significant?

All of Jio’s launches so far have wowed Indian consumers on the price front. So don’t be surprised if the JioPhone Next too launches with a price that will undercut all competition when it comes to an entry level 4G smartphone, which is still hovering above the ₹ 5,000 mark.

Also, the software optimizations already announced along with the data packages you can expect with the phone will surely give a huge fillip to the bottom end of the smartphone market in India. Also, this should help accelerate the transition of millions of users from feature phones to smarter devices.

As more and more of the developing world comes online, Google is making a big effort to ensure it’s there to meet them.


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