Google Made A Dirt-Cheap Android Phone That Costs Under $90
The JioPhone Next packs a 5.45-inch HD+ display, Qualcomm’s entry-level Snapdragon 215 SoC, as well as a single 13-megapixel rear camera.
Google made a dirt-cheap Android phone called the JioPhone Next for the Indian market and it costs less than $90, thanks to a collaboration with Indian telecom giant Jio. The biggest telecom operator in the country with roughly 450 million customers under its belt, Jio also happens to be the second-largest mobile operator in the world, second only to China Mobile Communications Corporation.
Often credited with bringing 4G to the masses in the market by subsidizing the price of internet access plans dramatically, the company has recently expanded its footprint to offer everything from Wi-Fi networking hardware and webcams to services such as its content streaming platform and a fiber broadband service. The company also offers a video conferencing platform to rival Zoom and Google Meet, sells feature phones in India, and has been working with Google for some time to launch a smartphone.
The result of those efforts is the JioPhone Next, an extremely affordable Android phone that comes with some neat tricks, such as a dedicated night mode for low-light photography and a nifty on-screen translation feature that supports ten Indian languages. The phone is priced at INR 6,499, which translates to around $87 based on current conversion rates. However, to make the device ever more accessible, the company is also offering a financing plan that will cost INR 1,999 (roughly $27), with the rest of the amount paid via installments that also cover the cost of bundled data and calling plans. The company notes that it wants to kickstart a digital revolution by reaching over one billion users in India.
A Basic Phone With Some Google Smarts
The design is about as basic as it gets with a polycarbonate shell (in black or white) and thick bezels at the top and bottom. On the front, there’s a 5.45-inch HD+ (1440 x 720 pixels) display protected by a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and a fingerprint-resistant coating on top. Things under the hood are kept running by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 215 SoC paired with a paltry 2GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage. However, a microSD card slot allows storage expansion up to another 512GB. A 4,500 mAh capacity battery keeps the lights on, while 4G handles connectivity.
Things get a bit more interesting on the software side and in the camera department. The JioPhone Next runs Pragati OS (Pragati is the Hindi language word for progress), and the custom version of Android has been tailored to run on the phone’s low-end hardware. Based on the Go edition of apps it also uses, Pragati OS appears to be a customized Android Go Edition build. There’s an 8-megapixel camera on the front and a 13-megapixel camera on the back. Google has also lent some of its camera expertise by adding support for features like Night Mode, HDR Mode, Portrait Mode, and some AR filters as well. The new phone from Google and Jio will be up for grabs starting November 4 in the country, but buyers will first need to register for it and then collect it from a retail outlet.
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