India’s mobile upstart Reliance Jio and Google are developing a low-cost 4G smartphone which will only work on the newcomer’s 4G network, The Hindu reported.
The handset, which will have Google branding, is expected to be launched before the end of the year. The two firms are also working on software for Jio’s smart-TV service, which is scheduled for release later this year, the newspaper said.
Jio and Google’s partnership aims to reduce the cost of 4G handsets to appeal to a wider audience as well as ensuring Jio’s many apps are integrated into Google’s Android OS to improve the performance.
The Hindu noted the move is Google’s second effort to develop an affordable smartphone for developing markets. The first-generation Android One models were made by Indian handset vendors Micromax, Karbonn Mobiles and Spice Mobiles and released in 2014 in about a dozen Asian markets.
Jio, via its parent company’s retail unit Reliance Retail, sources handsets and pocket routers from a number of Chinese vendors, including Foxconn and ZTE. The 4G operator also launched its own-brand LYF smartphones last June, with a number of models offered at or below $50.