The JioPhone Next is the next big launch in the Indian mobile market as it aims to introduce 300 million 2G feature phone users to smartphones for the first time. Of course, it will be affordable and you will get Google services, but the real question is can you call the JioPhone Next, a true Android smartphone? Given the hardware requirements of Android 12 and popular Android apps, it is virtually impossible for a brand to make profit by selling a smartphone in 2021 under Rs 5,000. It is this impossible challenge that Reliance Jio is fighting head on. But in order to balance it’s accounts, Reliance is relying on Android Go and not the real Android operating system that phones from Samsung, Xiaomi, Realme and others opt for.
So, Android Go is a stripped down version of Android that is meant to support low-end phones with limited hardware capabilities. For example, phones running Qualcomm 2 series chipsets and having less than 2GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage.
Qualcomm describes its 2 series chipsets, “designed for OEMs that service consumers who may otherwise be unable to gain access to quality, affordable, reliable mobile devices.” This statement by Qualcomm is enough to give you a hint as to what the JioPhone Next will be all about. For the record, the JioPhonext Next is said to be powered by the Qualcomm 215 platform. But then let’s talk about Android Go. What can you actually do with a phone powered by Android Go?
What is Android Go
With Android Go, users will get a basic Android phone experience. While they will get access to Google’s services, software updates, Google Assistant and ability to download apps from Google Play store, note that access to all apps will not be there. Due to hardware limitations, users may not be able to download popular games, streaming apps, etc. Having said that users will get access to all Go versions of popular Google apps. Low-end chipset, limited RAM and storage will prevent the JioPhone Next to be a full-fledged regular Android phone.
JioPhone Next users will be able to download apps from Google Play store. The apps that are compatible with hardware features of the phone can be downloaded only. JioPhone Next will offer Google Assistant voice support. Using App Actions, users can utilise Google Assistant with Jio apps on this device to know latest cricket scores or a weather update, users can also ask Google Assistant to play music on JioSaavn or check their balance on My Jio.
Overall, Android Go is just a stop-gap arrangement. Of course, users will get access to Google services, 4G internet connectivity, YouTube, Maps, music, Facebook, WhatsApp, a doable camera and other benefits of owning a smartphone. But when it comes to making Zoom calls, attending online classes, accessing educational apps and doing anything productive, there’s little hope you can do much with an Android Go phone.
Android Go is just a teaser to ‘real’ Android phones
After using a device powered by Android Go, anyone would be inclined to buy a quality Android phone that will offer a full-fledged Android 11 or Android 12 operating system with all the benefits of owning a smartphone. It’s more like a teaser but the problem is most people who are stuck to 2G feature phones do not have the money to buy a real Android phone. While we can all agree that there isn’t much choice for them, whether or not Android Go will be beneficial is something debatable. Having said that, Reliance Jio truly deserves all the praise for at least trying to provide a solution for 2G feature phone users when all brands have abandoned them. But will it work, only time will tell.