Revealed: How Jio Plans to Offer 'Smart' Apps on Its Feature Phone

Revealed: How Jio Plans to Offer 'Smart' Apps on Its Feature Phone
  • The Reliance Jio Feature Phone will use KaiOS
  • This is based on a fork of Firefox OS
  • The company has approached developers for content for it

Ahead of Reliance’s Annual General Meeting, it has been heavily rumoured that Reliance Jio will launch one or more feature phones under Reliance Retail's Lyf brand.

Prior to this, more details on the Lyf Jio feature phone have come to light and while Reliance has declined to comment on them, several developers speaking to Gadgets 360 have confirmed that, as rumoured, it will indeed run the KaiOS which is based on a fork of Mozilla’s erstwhile Firefox OS.

Jio Feature Phone at Reliance AGM: All You Need to Know About the Mobile

What this means is, you could see support for rudimentary apps running HTML 5. Gadgets 360 understands Reliance Jio has approached creators to pitch their apps for the platform, with the intent of having games that could support upto 25 million users.

Sources also confirm the phone will have an app store as well, though details on the revenue split or payment methods supported aren’t known just yet. We understand that Jio is looking into the option of enabling the ability to remotely enable apps and services on a user’s Lyf Jio feature phone, which could come in handy if users want to enable/ disable services using IVR, but could also be a nightmare if the said services are chargeable.

Jio Feature Phone: Manufacturing Talks in 'Final Stages', Says Intex

While Intex on Wednesday told Gadgets 360 it was in final stages of conversations with Reliance to manufacture the Jio phone, one of the sources says Intex-made feature phones are already being tested on Jio’s platform.

At the moment, the only other mainstream phone using KaiOS seems to be the Alcatel GO Flip in the US. And judging by the 22-step guide on how to save battery life on Alcatel’s own site, it will be interesting to see how Reliance Jio manages expectations on battery life, more so when week long battery life is one of the major reasons that feature phones have managed to hold their own.

Nonetheless, this should come as no surprise given that KaiOS is based on Firefox OS, which in our review and according to user comments, had issues with battery management.

Gadgets 360 asked Reliance Jio if there were any plans to mitigate battery issues on KaiOS. A spokesperson replied saying that the company may respond after Friday’s Reliance AGM.

We discussed the impact of Nokia and Jio on the feature phones market in India on our weekly technology podcast Orbital, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS or just listen to this episode by hitting the play button below.


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