Within a day after Google committed to a massive investment in India and the search giant bought up 7.7% of Jio at nearly half the sum company CEO Sundar Pichai had promised to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Reliance announced At the Annual General Meet (AGM) 2020 today it was developing an Android-based operating system in partnership with Google. Mukesh Ambani announced that Jio Platforms and Google struck a deal to develop entry-level affordable smartphones with optimisations to the Android operating system and Play Store.
At the digital AGM, Ambani said, “Google and Reliance Jio are partnering to build a value-engineered Android-based smartphone operating system. Through this partnership, we can accelerate the national mission of putting a smart device in the hands of every Indian.”
Ambani wants India to be “2G-mukt” soon with this initiative. The system would offer affordable “4G or even 5G” smartphones running on an Android-based operating system.
Ambani said “even though we have sold over 100 million JioPhones… there are many feature phone users who are waiting to upgrade to a conventional smartphone, if only it were somehow more affordable. So we have decided to address this challenge.”
The company had earlier launched JioPhone and JioPhone 2 running on KiaOS to provide owners of feature phones with access to smartphones. Under the new Google-Jio partnership, Jio is likely to launch a more powerful and smarter JioPhone with Google’s operating system.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai addressed the RIL AGM via video conference too. He said the collaboration would enable more users in India to adopt affordable 4G smartphones. With the help of the upcoming Android-based operating system, users will be able to access Google Play store. This implies the affordable smartphones will allow users to download Google family apps such as Gmail, Google Maps, Hangouts, among others.
“Together we are excited to rethink, from the ground up, how millions of users in India can become owners of smartphones. This effort will unlock new opportunities, further power the vibrant ecosystem of applications and push innovation to drive growth for the new Indian economy,” Jio said in a press release.