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The next JioPhone Next is coming with Android Go: What exactly is that?

Reliance Jio's next JioPhone is coming with Android Go. Here’s an explainer about what exactly it is.

By: HT TECH
Updated on: Aug 21 2022, 19:47 IST
On JioPhone Next, Android Go will get you access to YouTube, Google Maps, Facebook, WhatsApp and more. (Jim)

Reliance Jio is working on its next big launch in India. The company plans to introduce 300 million 2G feature phone users to smartphones for the first time ever, and that’s what they are aiming for with this upcoming device. Besides being affordable, the next JioPhone is also going to bring in Google services to the masses. We know that the next JioPhone is going to be one of the most affordable Android devices in the world, but the bigger question here is - is the JioPhone Next going to be a true Android smartphone?

As TOI points out, given the hardware requirements of Android 12 and popular Android apps, it’s almost impossible for any brand to make a profit by selling a smartphone in 2021 for less than 5,000. This is something Reliance is hoping to take on - offer a super affordable device that is also feature-rich. And to attain that, Reliance is going with the Android Go experience on JioPhone Next instead of the normal Android OS we see on smartphones from Realme, Xiaomi, Samsung, and others.

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What is Android Go?

Android Go is a stripped-down version of the Android OS and is meant to support low-end phones that have limited hardware capabilities. Phones running on Qualcomm 2 series chipsets with less than 2GB of RAM and 32GB internal storage qualify as low-end phones that can benefit from Android Go since the hardware cannot support a full-fledged Android experience.

As Qualcomm says, its 2 series chipsets are “designed for OEMs that service consumers who may otherwise be unable to gain access to quality, affordable, reliable mobile devices”. This indicates what one can expect of the upcoming JioPhone Next. The JioPhone Next is going to be powered by the Qualcomm 215 platform, just to put things into perspective.

Now, coming to Android Go, phones running this software will get the basic Android phone experience. You get access to Google’s services, software updates, the ability to download apps from the Google Play Store, Google Assistant support, etc. Notably, phones running Android Go will not be able to access all apps. This is primarily due to hardware limitations on the device and nothing else. So if you are hoping to buy the JioPhone Next and play popular games or stream content on it from OTT platforms, it’s not going to happen. However, You will get access to the Go versions of all popular Google apps. The low-end chipset, limited RAM, and storage prevent phones like the JioPhone Next from being able to function like a full-fledged Android phone.

Also, only the apps that are compatible with the hardware on the JioPhone Next can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. The smartphone is going to get Google Assistant support, and with App Actions users can use the Google Assistant with Jio apps on the device to get weather updates or the latest cricket scores. You can also use Google Assistant to play songs on JioSaavn, check balance on My Jio, etc.

For all practical purposes, Android Go is an intermediate option for those who want an Android experience but do not want to spend a lot. You get access to Google Services, 4G connectivity, YouTube, Google Maps, Facebook, WhatsApp, a better camera than what you get on feature phones, and more. Unfortunately, though, you cannot make Zoom calls, or attend online classes or access heavier apps or games on a phone that runs Android Go.

What you get on a device that is powered by the Android Go is more like a teaser for the full-fledged Android experience. The idea is to entice you enough to want to spend a little more on a device with better hardware, and therefore, better software - something that runs Android 11 and can support further Android iterations. A device like JioPhone Next with Android Go is a stepping stone. It brings the 2G feature phone users to the 4G side and offers a better experience without having to spend a whole lot of money. And this is exactly where Reliance is hoping to score a hit.

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First Published Date: 21 Aug, 11:43 IST

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