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Reliance JioPhone could get WhatsApp support: Report

WhatsApp might make its way to JioPhone.


Reliance Jio announced the JioPhone last month at the AGM of Reliance Industries Ltd. The phone did cause ripples in the industry by offering impressive features such as voice-based control as well as the possibility to view movies on a television by streaming over the Jio network. One significant drawback, though, was the absence of WhatsApp. If latest reports are something to go by, Reliance Jio might just be overcoming that barrier.

According to a report by Factor Daily, Reliance Jio is in talks with WhatsApp to bring the messenger service to the JioPhone. The report quotes a source who said “there have been a few meetings between Reliance Jio officials and WhatsApp officials… but the discussions are preliminary”. The second source said, “The talks are on. We already have a relationship with Facebook… There are technical challenges. A version (of Whatsapp) is needed that will work optimally on the JioPhone.”

With over 200 million users, India is an important market WhatsApp. Despite speculation, there’s currently no confirmation on a KaiOS version of WhatsApp. On the other hand, during the live demonstration, the app interface did show that the phone will launch with the Facebook app. ALSO READ: Reliance JioPhone pre-booking: Here’s how to apply and book the phone first 

What’s interesting to note is that Reliance Jio had back then announced that the phone will come with a bunch of Jio apps. However, JioChat, with over 125 million subscribers was missing from the list. Maybe now we know why.

Reliance JioPhone, when announced, came with little to no clarity on the processor that powered the feature phone. Now, reports suggest that the phone will be powered by the recently announced Qualcomm 205 chipset and some variants will also come powered by a Spreadtrum SoC. Reliance Jio is yet to comment on the same.

Reports in the past also suggested that the JioPhone will come with a single SIM-card slot. However, there are talks of the company launching a dual-SIM variant later in the year. The company will open pre-bookings for the JioPhone on August 24. The company has already announced that it will be putting up 5 million JioPhones every week for sale. However, people using the JioPhone will only be able to use Reliance Jio SIM, and the device won’t support SIM cards from other carriers like Airtel or Vodafone. ALSO READ: Why Reliance JioPhone is a practical solution to the curiosity sparked off by Freedom 251

However, one of the most interesting feature of the JioPhone is that it can also be voice-controlled, just like Siri or Google Assistant. While there is no pre-command to activate the voice control feature, you simply need to call out your command loud enough for the phone to hear. The feature was live demonstrated during the AGM. ALSO READ: Reliance JioPhone to Xiaomi Mi Max 2: Top 10 phones launched in July 2017 

While there still remain a lot of ‘smartphones’ which do not offer NFC support, Reliance Jio has announced that the JioPhone will offer the capabilities. Apart from that, as mandated by the Government of India earlier this year, all phones sold or made in India should be equipped with an SoS button. The service will active on long pressing the number ‘5’.

  • Published Date: August 4, 2017 11:47 AM IST