This June, Google and Reliance Industries’ Jio entered into an alliance to roll out the all-new JioPhone Next to connect the millions of Indians across the country. The affordable smartphone was slated to roll out today on Ganesh Chaturthi, but it seems that fate had other plans, as Jio announced that the launch would be delayed till the Diwali festive season, from when it would be made available.
It seems that the global shortage of semiconductors is to blame for this, according to a statement by Jio. The statement read, “Both companies have begun testing JioPhone Next with a limited set of users for further refinement and are actively working to make it available more widely in time for the Diwali festive season.” The delay will help mitigate the industry-wide, global semiconductor shortages, it added.
The shortage of semiconductors has been attributed to a number of factors, including the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, and rising demand.
The JioPhone Next, announced during the Reliance AGM this June, is being developed by both Google and Jio and is part of Google’s investment in Jio Platforms. Touted to be a gamechanger and first of its kind with cutting-edge features, the affordable device sports an optimized operating system based on the Play Store and Android and comes with Google Assistant, automatic read-aloud and language translation for any on-screen text, a smart camera with India-centric augmented reality filters and more features.
“Our vision is to bring affordable access to information for Indians in their own language, to build new products and services for India’s unique needs, and to empower businesses with technology. I’m excited that today we can announce the next steps in this vision, starting with a new, affordable Jio smartphone, created with Google. Our teams have optimized a version of our Android OS, especially for this device. It will offer language and translation features, a great camera, and support for the latest Android updates. It is built for India and it will open up new possibilities for millions of new users who will experience the internet for the very first time,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google and Alphabet.
Both Jio and Google had confirmed that the software experience on the JioPhone Next would be developed keeping in mind the needs of the millions of Indians and focus on localization, cameras and push for latest Android features and security updates, as it looks to connect millions who are still working with slower networks to the internet.