In July, at its AGM 2020, Reliance announced that Google is investing $4.5 billion in Jio as part of its recently announced $10 billion India digitization fund. It also said that the wo companies are also entering into a commercial agreement to jointly develop entry-level affordable smartphones. These Android devices are said to come with optimizations to the Android operating system and the Play Store to help smartphones reach more Indians.
Now, a report from Business Standard claims that Reliance Jio is looking at a plan to outsource and manufacture over 100 million low-cost smartphones. These will be built on the Google Android platform. Moreover, Jio is planning to bundle these phones with data packs. The announcement could come in December or early next year.
The low-cost Jio phones could set a major challenge to Chinese vendors such as Xiaomi and BBK Electronics, owner of the Realme, Oppo, and Vivo brands. Right now, these brands dominate with a $2 billion (~ Rs 14,713 crores) market for sub-$100 (~Rs 7,360) smartphones in India. The Chinese firms sell roughly eight of every 10 smartphones in the country.
At the Reliance AGM 2020, Google is said to be rethinking from the ground up how millions more in India can get to be owners of smartphones and benefit. For reference, the majority of people in India still don’t have access to the internet and smartphones. The companies are aiming to break the connectivity and accessibility barriers by optimizing the Android operating system and the Play Store for India.
For reference, Reliance has previously executed a similar plan in 2017 with the launch of the Jio Phone. It gave users internet access for as little as $20 (~Rs 1,470). Moreover, Jio Phone now has more 100 million users, and many of them are internet first-timers. We expect more information to be revealed soon.