Indian tech leader Jio Platforms and Google just revealed their first collaborative product, the JioPhone Next. Designed to help the over 300 million 2G users in India transition to 4G, the affordable JioPhone Next runs a custom, optimized version of Android—and it isn’t the Android Go or One software usually employed in developing markets.
Google regularly collaborates with developers on affordable Android Go and One handsets. But the JioPhone Next is special because it runs a unique version of the Android OS, which Google says is optimized for Jio’s suite of apps (such as its speech-to-text tool), the Google Assistant, and AR filters in Snapchat.
While we don’t know the JioPhone Next’s camera specs, Google and Jio Platforms say that it’s one of the phone’s greatest strengths. XDA Developers noticed that the JioPhone Next actually runs the Google Camera Go software, which enables features like Night Mode and HDR Enhance. Interestingly, Google chose to integrate Snapchat filters directly in the JioPhone Next’s camera, providing instant access to Indian-specific filters and effects.
As noted by The Indian Express, Jio Platforms is a dominant force in India. Other affordable phones released by the company, including the Jio 4G running KaiOS, have totally undercut the competition. Because the average 4G phone in India costs about ₹5,000 INR (about $68), we should expect the JioPhone Next to come in at a much lower price.
Jio Platforms says that the JioPhone Next will launch in India on September 10th. It will eventually find its way to other markets, though Jio Platforms hasn’t announced where. Pricing for the phone, along with its specs, are still a mystery (again, it will probably cost less than ₹5,000).