When JioPhone was announced, the first criticism that it had to face was that despite calling itself a ‘smart feature phone’, the phone failed to support two basic and most-popular apps -Facebook and WhatsApp. The company has said that it is working on this and now finally it has announced the Facebook app support for JioPhone.
Starting tomorrow i.e. February 14, JioPhone users will be able to use Facebook app on their Jio feature phone. The company has built a special version of Facebook app that can run on Jio’s KaiOS. Jio says that this move will open up Facebook for potential 50 Crore feature phone users in India. The Facebook App can be downloaded from the JioAppStore on the JioPhone by all existing and new JioPhone users.
“JioPhone is the world’s most affordable smartphone built with transformational technology especially for Indians to migrate from a feature phone to a smartphone. As promised, JioPhone will be home to the world’s leading applications, starting with Facebook. Jio, the world’s largest mobile data network, is built to empower every Indian with the power of data and JioPhone is an integral part of this Jio movement,” said Akash Ambani, director, Jio in a press statement.
The new Facebook app for JioPhone supports push notifications, video, and links to external content. The app is also optimized to accommodate the cursor function on JioPhone for better access of Facebook’s popular features, such as News Feed and Photos.
“We are excited about our partnership with Jio and the opportunity to provide the best possible Facebook experience for millions of people using JioPhone,” said Francisco Varela, VP of Mobile Partnerships, Facebook. “Working with partners like Jio, we want to make sure everyone, everywhere has the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of being connected.”
Reportedly, Jio is in talks with WhatsApp over a tailor-made WhatsApp version for JioPhone. With Facebook app becoming a reality on JioPhone, we can expect WhatsApp also to come on WhatsApp soon. WhatsApp is owned by Facebook. There are also reports that Jio could further experiment with JioPhone and convert it into a dual SIM phone in future.
Jio is also in talks with MediaTek for building an Android Go smartphone. MediaTek is one of the first companies to offer Andorid GO support, partnership with Jio could open the gates for more cheap entry level smartphones in India.