Before the pandemic it was much more common for consumers to equate price with quality when buying a smartphone. Today, people are spending more on essentials, and are opting to instead purchase low to mid-range smartphone models when needed. In developing markets like India, a spike in e-learning has caused demand for such phones to surge even further. As a result, smartphone manufacturers are releasing budget versions of their flagship models, like the Samsung Galaxy S20 and Apple iPhone XR.
Even Google has the Pixel 4a, which boasts the best cameras on any smartphone under $500. But it hasn’t stopped there. Recently, the tech giant paired up with Jio Platforms to release the JioPhone Next on November 4. First announced in 2020, this release was delayed due to the global chip shortage. This month, it was released on Diwali for just $87, proving that a quality smartphone doesn’t have to be expensive.
A budget phone with high performance
The JioPhone Next is a power-packed tiny package. Thanks to a high density interconnect PCB, all of its components perform exceedingly well despite working within smaller confines. Take the Next’s screen, for example. While most smartphone screens breach 6 inches in diameter, the Next is refreshingly small at 5.45 inches. The HD+ IPS LED display also has an above-average resolution of 720×1600 pixels.
At the core of this device is 2 GB of RAM, an expandable 32 GB of internal storage, and a Qualcomm quad-core QM-215 chipset capable of clocking up to 1.3 GHz. The Next also comes with a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. A 35000mAh battery means it can last for more than 30 hours, a notch above the average smartphone.
The most notable feature of this phone is arguably its operating system. The Pragati OS is described as an “extremely optimized,” customized version of Android 11. It’s capable of taking features like Read Aloud and Translate Now and making it accessible in multiple languages, particularly a variety of local tongues.
What this means for the future of budget smartphones
This is neither Google nor Jio’s first attempt at crafting a budget smartphone. Google has its Pixel 2, 3, and 4 product lines. Jio’s previous releases, the Jio Phones 2 and 3, were priced at around $200. However, Jio has strived to continually cut the price of its flagship products, and its collaboration with Google has helped the tech giant realize this goal. In fact, though the Next retails for $87, Jio allows its subscribers to pay in installments of $27.
However, the JioPhone Next is more than just a cheap phone — it’s an accessible one. In a world where Internet connectivity is necessary for everything from work to education, making smartphones more available to a wider audience does not just equate to more revenue for manufacturers, but also more opportunities for those who previously could not afford to have that technology. What’s more, it proves to consumers that a quality smartphone doesn’t have to break the bank.
“The JioPhone Next is an affordable smartphone [inspired by the belief that everyone] should benefit from the opportunities the Internet creates,” Google chief executive Sundar Pichai concludes. “To build it, our teams had to work together to solve complex engineering and design challenges, and I’m excited to see how millions of people will use these devices to better their lives and communities.”