Jio, Google delay India smartphone launch due to chip shortage

Reliance Industries (RIL) has postponed the launch of a low-cost smartphone it is developing with US-based technology giant Google to November, due to semiconductor shortage.
jio-4g-tariffReliance Jio is the #1 telecom operator in India with more than 425 million mobile phone customers on its all-India 4G network. Jio is also aiming to disrupt the Indian telecom market with cost-effective 5G services as and when 5G spectrum is available from the government.

The affordable smartphone, developed jointly by Reliance’s telecom arm Reliance Jio and Google, was set to be rolled out from Sept. 10. Jio is backed by Facebook, Qualcomm and Intel.

Companies globally are tackling a massive semiconductor shortage as the COVID-19 pandemic-led shift to remote working drove demand for the critical component used in making laptops and smartphones. As a fallout, several automakers have also suspended production.

“Both the companies have begun testing JioPhone Next with a limited set of users for refinement and are actively working to make it available more widely in time for the Diwali festive season,” Jio said in an exchange filing on Thursday.

The annual festive season in India typically lasts for 30 days, beginning in October and ending with Diwali — set for Nov. 4 this year. Indians usually make big-ticket purchases from jewellery to gadgets and cars around this period.

The additional time will also help mitigate the current industry-wide global semiconductor shortages, Jio said.

Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani in June did not specify its price but said it will be the most affordable smartphone not just in India, but globally.