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Google, Reliance Jio working closely to launch affordable smartphone in India

Collaboration between Google and Reliance Jio to develop affordable smartphones is going at a brisk pace, Google CEO Sundar Pichai was reported as saying today. Pichai said that Google continues with its Indian partner Reliance Jio on the initiative and work on that front is undergoing, news agency PTI reported.

The comments from Pichai come in the wake of both the companies signing a commercial agreement last year to develop a basic, entry level affordable smartphone for a large population that remains deprived of smartphone and internet connectivity. Google while signing the agreement had also bought about 7.7 percent stake in Reliance Jio worth Rs 33737 crore.

The comments from the top Google official came during the virtual press conference he was addressing for select reporters from the Asia Pacific region. The Indian origin CEO of Google said that the companies are working on developing the phone with focus and committed to make progress on the project. While enough has been said about the Jio-Google initiative of developing an affordable phone, the price range along with other launch details remain cloaked. Pichai, when asked about the probable price and launch date of the phone, refused to share any details.

Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio which brought the daily internet revolution in the Indian telecom scenario at the time of its launch is aiming at tapping a large rural population in the country by developing an affordable smartphone with the American company. Availability of cheap smartphones along with affordable internet data plans does not only have the potential to make the internet accessible to more people but also aid government service delivery initiatives.

Asked if the Covid-19 crisis had impacted the progress of the projects, Pichai said that the pandemic has shown the crucial role technology and internet can play in the lives of people. He further said that the company had deepened its efforts during the Covid-19 crisis including through products like Google Meets and ensuring that they run smoothly on the internet networks of telecom companies.

Google’s decision to buy about 7 percent stake in Reliance Jio is part of its Google for India Digitisation Fund under which the company plans to invest a total of Rs 75000 crore in the country over the next 5-7 years to help people get safe access to digital technologies. PTI

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