Reliance In Talks With Singapore's Flex And Karbonn Phone Maker UTL To Make JioPhone Next

Reliance In Talks With Singapore's Flex And Karbonn Phone Maker UTL To Make JioPhone Next
Reliance Jio founder Mukesh Ambani(Pic: Twitter)
Snapshot
  • JioPhone Next is expected to cost less than Rs 5,000, and the company hopes to gain over 500 million customers in the country with the launch of the smartphone, which is the result of a joint venture between the Indian company and Google.

Reliance Jio is in talks with both domestic and international companies about contract manufacturing of its ultra-low-cost Android 4G smartphone, JioPhone Next. According to reports, the corporation has conducted discussions with Singapore-based electronics company Flex and Bengaluru's UTL Neolnycs, which manufactured Karbonn mobile phones in collaboration with Delhi-based Jaina Group.

Mukesh Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Industries, recently announced during his Annual General Meeting (AGM) speech that the smartphone would be released on 10 September. If the talks with Flex and UTL Neolnycs go well, the low-cost phone will be manufactured in India, as both companies have plants in the country, according to a report by Business Standard. JioPhone Next is expected to cost less than Rs 5,000, and the company hopes to gain over 500 million customers in the country with the launch of the smartphone, which is the result of a joint venture between the Indian company and Google.

The Singapore company Flex is currently located in seven Indian cities, which are Gurugram (Haryana), Pune (Maharashtra), Bengaluru (Karnataka), Sriperumbudur (Tamil Nadu), Chennai (Tamil Nadu) and Sri City (Andhra Pradesh). Among all these, the manufacturing facility in Chennai—Flex Chennai Industrial Park 3—is the latest addition that opened in 2019.

As per the company's website, "Spanning 159,000 square feet, this facility will further expand Flex's manufacturing operations in India". Flex has ten other facilities in India, totalling more than 1 million square feet, in addition to Flex Chennai Industrial Park 3. Richard Hopkins, senior vice president of operations at Flex earlier said: "Flex has been in India over the last 18 years and has the right building blocks to help our customers who wish to innovate, create, and gain access to markets both domestically and globally".

The home-grown company UTL Neolyncs has applied for the government's production-linked incentive scheme for mobile devices. Under this scheme, involved companies will receive a 4-6 per cent incentive on their production value if they meet the investment and production criteria each year. However, UTL, which produces set-top boxes for Jio, has plants in Noida (Uttar Pradesh), Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh) and Bawal (Haryana). According to reports from last year, this company announced that it would invest Rs 100 crore and add four surface-mount technology (SMT) lines along with assembly lines in its Tirupati facility.

In the case of the 4G phone, JioPhone Next, which was announced at the forty-fourth Reliance AGM, is claimed to be the world's most affordable smartphone. Google CEO Sundar Pichai said during the June Reliance AGM that the JioPhone Next would run an optimised version of Android OS.

Reliance also stated that the smartphone would include a Play Store, voice assistant, OS-wide read aloud and translation. As per the reports, Google has invested over $4 billion in Jio to make affordable smartphones with an optimised version of the Android OS that is tailored for Indian audiences. The device is expected to bring 4G connectivity and smartphones to a larger number of users in the country, benefiting both Jio and Google.

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