WhatsApp arrives on Jio Phone, Jio Phone 2: How to download and install
WhatsApp is now available on Reliance Jio's smart feature phone, JioPhone. WhatsApp has retained core functionalities of the messaging app for its new iteration on a feature phone platform. The company says WhatsApp for JioPhone comes with end-to-end encryption feature. Just like the main version, WhatsApp allows JioPhone users to send text, photos and videos. It also lets users record and send voice messages.
WhatsApp is available in the JioPhone AppStore starting September 10, 2018 and will be rolled out on all JioPhones by September 20, 2018. Users can download WhatsApp on both the JioPhone and the JioPhone 2 by visiting the AppStore and clicking on "download".
"Millions of people across India can now use WhatsApp private messaging on the best-in-class JioPhone across India," said Chris Daniels, Vice President, WhatsApp. "By designing this new app for KaiOS, we hope to expand the ability for people to communicate with anyone in India and around the world by offering the best messaging experience possible to JioPhone users."
Arrival of WhatsApp on JioPhone also marks the instant messaging company's change in strategy to re-shift its focus on feature phones. It is worth noting that Facebook is already available on JioPhone.
WhatsApp was available on feature phones for some time, but the company quickly migrated to smartphones when they became mainstream in India. Already, WhatsApp has announced ending support for Nokia S40 and S60, popular OS for older feature phones in India. The company has also ended support for minority smartphone OSes like BlackBerry OS and BlackBerry 10, iPhone 3GS/iOS 6 and Windows Phone 8.0 and older. For Android, WhatsApp doesn't support versions older than 2.3.3. Like WhatsApp, Facebook has also gradually phased out its feature phone versions and currently offers a Lite version of the app for low-end smartphones.
WhatsApp may have made an exception for JioPhone as it's not like the conventional feature phones. Instead, it offers 4G LTE, 4G internet and comes with Jio apps like JioTV, JioCinema, and JioMusic.
Moreover, Google has already embraced the Jio platform to roll out apps like YouTube. In fact, Google has made big investments in the KaiOS, the company that makes software for JioPhone and JioPhone 2. The partnership will enable KaiOS to make more Google apps including Maps available on the smart feature phones.
Reliance's Chairman & Managing Director Mukesh Ambani at the JioPhone 2 launch disclosed that the company had sold more than 25 million JioPhones since launch in August last year. This is a sizable userbase for any technology company to ignore. According to Counterpoint Research, JioPhone has remained top selling feature phone in the Indian market.
"Reliance JioPhone became the best-selling feature phone model in Q1 2018, Jio was also the best-selling feature phone brand in Q1 2018. It was followed by Nokia HMD, iTel, Samsung and Tecno which formed the list of the top five brands," said the research firm in a blog post earlier this year.
"Companies like KaiOS and Reliance Jio are working to add more value to the 4G feature phones, as a result making it more appealing for bottom of pyramid users who are not comfortable with touch form factor, lack of vernacular content and quality smartphones below $40. Further adoption can be driven by possible introduction of new apps e.g. Facebook, Google Assitant, maps, search and digital payments," it added.