Over 50 million feature phone users in India are oblivious to the digital revolution and to bridge the gap, Mukesh Ambani launched the JioPhone today. The JioPhone is one of the handful of feature phones available in India which offer 4G compatibility. However, there are a range of features which differentiate the JioPhone from other features phones in the market. Here’s a closer look at the ‘India ka Smartphone’. Also Read - Reliance Jio records highest 4G download speeds in Dec 2020: TRAI
1. PriceAlso Read - DoT announces auction date for spectrum sale in India; Jio, Airtel, Vi expected to bid
The biggest attention grabber for the JioPhone is its price. As Ambani said during the annual AGM speech, the phone will be available to users for ‘free’. By ‘free’, what the company will ask users for is a one-time amount of Rs 1,500 which will be refundable after three years. As Ambani explained, this amount is to thwart the misuse of free plans and offers. This effectively brings down the cost of the feature phone to zero. Undoubtedly, the social media went into frenzy soon after the announcement. ALSO READ: Reliance JioPhone launched: Price, data tariff plans, prebooking, availability and more Also Read - Airtel vs Jio vs Vodafone Idea: Best prepaid plans offering 3GB daily data
2. Voice control
The JioPhone might be a feature phone by the looks of it, but in essence it boasts a handful of smart features. For the longest time, digital assistants have been limited to smartphones. However, one of the most interesting aspect of the smartphone world is now available on the JioPhone feature phone. Similar to how you would instruct Siri or Google Assistant to carry out a task, the JioPhone can also be voice-controlled. Interestingly, there is no pre-command to activate the voice control feature. You simply need to say aloud the phrase, such as “Call (Name)” or “Message (Name) I will be late” and the phone will follow. During the live demonstration, the voice controls appeared to work seamlessly and already in Indianized-tone to suit local needs. The voice controls are compatible with both English and Hindi languages. You can also browse the web using voice controls.
3. 4G VoLTE
The selling point of the feature phone is that it is 4G VoLTE enabled, which essentially means you can get the smartphone-like experience, albeit on a smaller, keypad-equipped feature phone. With 4G VoLTE, users browse with high-speed internet, make voice calls over LTE, and more. To aid in the adoption, Jio is offering its existing suite of apps with the phone. Apps including Jio Cinema and JioTV have been limited to Reliance Digital’s range of LYF smartphones and available through Jio subscription. However, these will come built-in the JioPhone. Users can also access these apps through voice control. ALSO READ: Reliance JioPhone pre-booking starts from August 24; here s everything you need to know
Another interesting feature of the JioPhone is the Near Field Communication (NFC) capability. As the country is moving towards a cashless economy, smartphones are now equipped with apps and features which allow secure, contactless payments. However, there still remain a lot of ‘smartphones’ which do not offer NFC compatibility. Despite being a feature phone, the JioPhone promises to offer the capabilities. During the live demonstration, the company promised to bring NFC feature to JioPhone in the coming future. It is unclear as to when this feature will be live, but the company explained that it will be made available to users through a software update. With NFC capabilities, JioPhone will be capable of facilitating UPI payments without the need of a physical credit or debit card.
5. JioPhone TV cable
Riding on the video streaming trend, the JioPhone can also be used to cast content onto a larger screen. The phone itself features just a 2.4-inch QVGA display, however, users can leverage the high-speed internet connectivity to consume video content. To enable the streaming, the company is offering an additional ‘JioPhone TV cable’ that connects the phone with any TV. Now, the interesting element here is that the cable not only connects to a smart TV but to the traditional CRT TVs as well. When the accessory is clubbed with any of the existing data plans, such as the Jio Dhan Dhan Dhan Rs 309 plan, users can watch up to 4 hours of videos daily on a large screen. ALSO READ: Reliance Jio now has over 125 million subscribers, adds 7 customers per second every single day: Mukesh Ambani at the 40th AGM
6. SoS feature
As mandated by the Government of India, all phones sold or made in the country should be equipped with an SoS button or feature. The JioPhone too is compliant with the emergency calling service. By long pressing ‘5’, users will be able to activate the feature. At the moment, the feature will intimate friends or family members about the whereabouts. However, going forward, the company promises to link the service with the police departments as well.