JioPhone Next has now gone on sale in India after much anticipation. The new 4G phone that has been developed in collaboration between Jio and Google is claimed to be the most affordable smartphone thanks to its upfront cost of Rs. 1,999. However, that’s just the first instalment — the JioPhone Next price in India is set at Rs. 6,499, and the rest of its amount needs to be paid in monthly instalments of up to 24 months. The new phone offers features including a custom-designed Pragati OS (it’s more or less Android Go) and is integrated with a list of localised features.
On this week’s episode of Gadgets 360 podcast Orbital, host Akhil Arora speaks with Producer Aditya Nath Jha and Senior Reviewer Sheldon Pinto to discuss all things JioPhone Next.
Although the specifications of the JioPhone Next are quite basic and align with any low-cost smartphone, it does have a list of Google-backed features to attract customers. We talk about all these features in detail during our over half-an-hour conversation.
One of the most distinct inputs from Google on the JioPhone Next is the Pragati OS that is a tweaked version of Android 11 (Go edition). The custom operating system comes preloaded with Google Assistant to support voice commands for operating the device. It also supports language translation and read-aloud features to please first smartphone users in the country. Further, the phone comes with support for 10 distinct languages including Hindi.
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Alongside the basic tweaks, the JioPhone Next has a customised camera that integrates Snapchat’s augmented reality (AR) lenses and has features to support night and low-light photography. The phone also comes with the Nearby Share feature to let users share content including apps, photos, and videos, all without the Internet.
Jio also claims that with Google’s backing on the software side, the JioPhone Next is capable of receiving future updates, with enhanced customisations and feature upgrades — just like the “Feature Drops” and “Security Updates” on the Google Pixel series.
Similar to some other budget options in its price range, the JioPhone Next has a removable battery pack. This helps get a new battery if the original one fails. However, Jio has not yet provided any details about how much the battery would cost — and whether it would be officially available through any retail or service channels.
The JioPhone Next also restricts access to 2G connectivity if a customer is going for a network other than Jio. It is unlike other options available in the same price segment where you will get 4G support irrespective of the network you use. Nevertheless, the JioPhone Next does support 4G if you go with Jio’s network. It wouldn’t be a 4G phone otherwise.
In terms of key alternatives against the JioPhone Next, there are models including the Realme C11 (2021), Redmi 9A, Itel Vision 1, and Infinix Smart 5A, among others. We talk about some of these models in our conversation. We also discuss how the EMI model is something that could significantly increase the final price of the JioPhone Next.
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You can catch all this and more by hitting the play button on the Spotify player embedded above.
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