Last month, at the 40th AGM (Annual General Meeting), Reliance Jio announced the launch of the much-awaited feature phone dubbed JioPhone.
Available at no upfront cost and just a refundable deposit of Rs. 1,500, the JioPhone has definitely created ripples in the mobile phone market. The device is yet to be made available but has smart features and functionalities that the usual feature phones will not be able to perform. To mention a few, the JioPhone supports voice commands and a screen mirroring kind of feature with the TV Cable that was launched along with the phone.
Despite the smart capabilities, the JioPhone lacks one major feature that is a significant drawback. Well, the talk is about the support for WhatsApp. WhatsApp has progressed to become one of the widely used messaging platforms across the world and India is a significant market for the platform with a majority of users in the country. WhatsApp has a good connect in India with users in villages too preferring the platform to share messages with others.
Going by the latest report from Factor Daily, it looks like the JioPhone will be able to overcome this barrier. It is claimed that Reliance Jio is in talks with Facebook-owned WhatsApp in order to bring the messaging service to the 4G VoLTE feature phone. One of the sources is claimed to have stated that Jio and Facebook has a good relationship and that there are technical challenges involved in the process. It is said that a version of WhatsApp will be needed for the platform to work at its best on the JioPhone.
Notably, the Jio feature phone runs on KaiOS and WhatsApp doesn't support this platform as yet. The interesting aspect is that this feature phone from Jio will be preloaded with the Jio suite of apps such as JioCinema, JioTV, etc. But the list does not include the JioChat that has over 125 million subscribers. And, now we have a probable reason for the same.
Ever since the JioPhone was announced, there wasn't much clarity on the hardware aspects that will power the device. We have seen reports that the feature phone will be announced in two variants - one with the Qualcomm 205 SoC and the other with a Spreadtrum SoC. But there is no sort of confirmation from Reliance Jio on this front.
We can expect more clarity regarding the JioPhone and its specifications in the coming days as the pre-booking will debut on August 24 via both online and office.