At today’s Reliance Industries’ AGM, Mukesh Ambani announced the company’s progress over the last four decades since inception as a textile company. Over the 40 years of its IPO, the company witnessed 4,700 times increase in turnover. Part of the current success is attributed to the company’s last year roll out of the Jio 4G services in India. In a bid to advance the success, the company announced its JioPhone in India. The feature phone will be available under friendly trials for early users starting August 15 while pre-booking will begin on August 24. The cost of the JioPhone will be effectively nil as Reliance will charge users a deposit of Rs 1,500 which will be refunded after 3 years. Also Read - Jio Freedom Plans 2021: Jio launches 5 new prepaid plans with no daily data limit - check detailsAlso Read - How to recharge your Jio number via WhatsApp
Even as the country is moving towards a digital revolution, there still remains a major chunk of the population which uses feature phones. In his speech, Ambani noted India has 78 crore phones out of which 50 million are feature phones. These users are not only oblivious to the ‘affordable’ 4G VoLTE services but also end up spending more on calling services. Also Read - 5G JioPhone launch could be around Diwali this year, price to be around Rs 3,500
The JioPhone, is essentially a feature phone, which is Made in India, and features a 2.4-inch QVGA display with familiar-looking keypad, FM radio compatibility, SD card slot, torchlight, etc. However, what differentiates it from existing line of feature phones is that it comes with 4G compatibility.
The feature phone also supports voice control. Quite similar to how Siri works on an iPhone, in order to make a call, you can use a voice command such as, “Call, XYZ” and the phone will follow. You can also send messages using voice commands. Interestingly, the phone also supports voice control in Hindi language. It is unclear if there is support for languages other than Hindi and English. ALSO READ: Reliance Retail sold 1.5 million LYF devices, accessories; device distribution declines in Q1
It comes built-in with the Jio suite of apps. As is the mandate by the Government of India about phones made and sold in India, the JioPhone also comes with an emergency calling button. By long-pressing ‘5’, one can activate the SoS service and inform relevant people about your whereabouts. Going forward, the service will be integrated with law enforcement agencies.
The JioPhone will further be added with NFC capabilities in the near future for contactless payments. The company announced separate tariff for the JioPhone. To begin with, voice calls will remain free for JioPhone users with unlimited access to data. The base plans start at Rs 153 per month. The company is also offering an additional cable with the JioPhone that allows users to connect their feature phone with TVs, including smart and CRT TVs ALSO READ: Mukesh Ambani leads Forbes list of Global Game Changers