The launch of an”ultra-affordable” Android smartphone jointly developed by Google and Reliance Jio, India’s leading wireless carrier, has been delayed due to the global chip shortage, according to a statement by the Indian company released Friday.
Called JioPhone Next, the smartphone had been scheduled to launch Friday, but will see a rollout instead in early November, “in time for the Diwali festive season” — one of the biggest holidays on the Indian calendar.
“This additional time will also help mitigate the current industry-wide, global semiconductor shortages,” the statement said.
In June, Google announced its partnering with Reliance Jio, owned by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, to launch an budget smartphone in the country, as both companies seek to conquer the world’s second largest smartphone market, especially people “who will experience the internet for the very first time” on its phone.
The JioPhone Next will run an a version of Android specially developed for India, and will carry a slew of features tailored for the South Asian country including automatic read-aloud and and language translation for any on-screen text and a smart camera with India-centric filters, Reliance Jio said. A report by Fast Company says JioPhone Next will also carry features typically reserved for Google’s own line of Pixel phones including a camera app bundled with Google’s HDR technology, which it says will “come in handy given the hardware won’t be top-of-the-line.
Although the price of the JioNext Phone was not revealed, there’s talk of pricing coming in below the $100 mark as both companies strive to capture market share in the price-sensitive Indian market. This is not the first time Google has aimed to grab market share by launching an “ultracheap” smartphone in emerging Asia. In 2014, the search giant tried (then failed) to bring Android phones that cost less than $100 to “the next five billion” users in the emerging markets. The rollout of the so-calledwas slated for India, Indonesia, and the Philippines.