Reliance JioPhone 5G and JioBook laptop could launch at its AGM in August 2021
Reliance Jio has faced a small slowdown in the addition of new subscribers since mid-2020. At the same time, rival telecom brand Bharti Airtel managed to add more users than Jio. In an attempt to push those numbers up, Reliance Jio has apparently proposed to launch a new 5G smartphone later this year. The company is also expected to launch a new affordable laptop for the masses called the JioBook.
As per a report by The Economic Times, Reliance will likely launch its first affordable 5G Android smartphone in the next fiscal’s second quarter. The company is aiming at a May-June timeline to complete the R&D of the smartphone which is being made in partnership with Google, people familiar with the matter suggest. Google is an investor in Reliance Jio, alongside Facebook, Qualcomm, and others.
“But a launch will most likely be in the second quarter of FY21. It may coincide with the annual general meeting (AGM), usually held in August-September when RIL (Reliance Industries Limited) has typically made all its previous announcements regarding its feature phones and fiber, among others” as per one of the persons cited earlier. We can also expect the company to launch its first affordable laptop called JioBook which will be aimed at the education sector.
Earlier this month, we had exclusively reported about the JioBook which will likely offer a large screen device to consumers with built-in mobile connectivity along with the company’s slew of digital services. Back in 2018, Miguel Nunes, Senior Director of Product Management at Qualcomm Technologies, told The Economic Times that the chipmaker had spoken with Reliance Jio to launch laptops with cellular connectivity. It seems that Jio is finally developing a product based on Qualcomm hardware. Notably, it will not be a Windows-based laptop, but rather run on a forked version of Google’s Android OS which might be called “JioOS.” To keep the cost of the device more affordable, it is expected that the prototype laptop is currently using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 665 (SM6125), which was announced back in 2019. Since it features a built-in 4G LTE modem, the JioBook will most likely make use of Reliance Jio’s 4G connectivity.
According to certain documents reviewed by XDA, Jio has partnered with China-based Bluebank Communication Technology, an engineering firm that creates mobile devices and develops software for third-parties. Notably, Blueback on its website mentions its work creating products that run KaiOS, the mobile operating system for feature phones that also powers the current-gen JioPhone. The development of the JioBook began in early September 2020 and will continue till the first half of 2021. Digging deeper into the laptop’s firmware, we discovered that it will have a display with a 1366×768 resolution although there is no confirmation on the size. One of the several test versions that Bluebank has tested includes a model with 2GB of LPDDR4X RAM paired with 32GB of eMMC storage and later a model with 4GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 64GB of eMMC 5.1 storage. The laptop could also feature a mini HDMI connector for video output, support for WiFi over 2.4 and 5GHz frequencies, Bluetooth, a three-axis accelerometer, and a Qualcomm audio chip.