A Google-branded budget phone could be in the works.
Google is reportedly working with Jio — which recently crossed 100 million subscribers — to launch an affordable 4G-enabled phone that will work exclusively on Jio's network. The phone is likely to make its debut before the end of the year, according to The Hindu.
Google is looking to expand its reach in India, and one way to do that would be to collaborate with Jio. The company's efforts in providing free internet access at railway stations across the country have borne fruit, with over 5 million customers using the service every month.
However, Google has failed to attract any mainstream attention for its Android One program, and in a recent interview, CEO Sundar Pichai said that smartphones need to be priced as low as $30 to succeed in the market. A partnership with Reliance could serve as a catalyst for Google's device ambitions in the country, while allowing Jio to reach a wider customer base.
Reliance's own Lyf brand of devices have fared well in the country mainly because of the fact that the carrier's network was limited to its devices initially. In addition to collaborating on a budget phone, The Hindu noted that Reliance's upcoming smart TVs will feature software from Google, which suggests they'll run Android TV.