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JioPhone may run special version of WhatsApp, Reliance talking with WhatsApp engineers

JioPhone is different compared to other feature phones already available in the market, claims the company in the Reliance AGM meet last month. Well, it is indeed. The feature phone comes with some "smart" features, which is not often seen on feature phones. But, missed out on a major feature. WhatsApp. Earlier, reports were such that JioPhone will not come with support for WhatsApp, which possible won't be a good thing, considering a major segment of the country are dependent on WhatsApp to connect with their loved ones. This news has been disheartening for many. But, with the new report coming in, it's time to rejoice. A report from Factor Daily reveals that Jio is in talks with WhatsApp to introduce a tailored version of the messaging platform.

Jio, WhatsApp together are apparently planning to launch a new toned down version of WhatsApp on JioPhone. But the discussion is still in its preliminary stage for now. Chances are that both the companies together may design a version on WhatsApp which will work on JioPhone. A source close to Jio revealed to Factor Daily, "The talks are on. We already have a relationship with Facebook...There are technical challenges. A version (of WhatsApp) is needed that will work optimally on the JioPhone."


It is not too long ago that WhatsApp entered India. But the messaging app gained wide popularity in absolutely no time. The messaging application has become extremely popular across India even in small towns and cities. People usually prefer WhatsApping rather than SMS as the preferred means of communication.

Basically, the reason why JioPhone can't support WhatsApp for the time being is because of the operating system that the feature phone runs on. The handset runs on KaiOS, a forked version of the Firefox operating system. Hence, the WhatsApp needs to bring out a tailored version of its messaging application so that it works on KaiOS.

By introducing WhatsApp on JioPhone, Mukesh Ambani headed company is focused at attracting consumers from all corners of the country. No WhatsApp mean less popularity for sure, and Jio is in no minds to lose on any opportunity to miss out of its consumers. Even though Jio has its own chatting application - JioChat, not many use it, or isn't as popular as WhatsApp is. "WhatsApp is too big to ignore," said a source. "Jio does not want to miss on the critical mass effect of Whatsapp," further adds the source from Jio.

Further, Jasminder Gulati, Co-founder, and Chief Traffic Officer of NowFloats, a company that collects digital user and commerce data by traveling by road throughout the country said, "In villages, people might not have water to drink, but they use Whatsapp." So, bringing the WhatsApp support to JioPhone can be a boon for Jio for sure. Gulati further says, "Unless Whatsapp is launching deep vernacular capabilities, with shades of WeChat with built-in commerce and payments into it for Jio users, it doesn't make sense." This is probably because Whatsapp is simple to user, and is not as complicated as other messaging apps. WhatsApp is designed with sophisticated code that allows it to be used on a wide range of phones.

The messaging application is reportedly working to bring WhatsApp for Business soon. The aim behind this is to bring the small and medium business online and improve their business. Considering that JioPhone is the "cheapest" 4G feature phone available at the moment and can be purchased by even the lowest segment of the society, and also the it has millions of consumers already, chances are that JioPhone with WhatsApp for Business will be a great match. It will help small business, who doesn't get access to the digital world to expand its work will now be able to expand their business.

"It will help them really scale, given that Jio will be able to get mainstream users online via their handsets. It will also be beneficial for WhatsApp if they move beyond voice and messaging and incorporate payments and other services on the platform," says an Analyst.

Reliance Jio launched its 4G feature phone called the JioPhone in India last month. The phone is already up for registration, and interested consumers can get updates on the JioPhone by subscribing to the "keep me posted" option available on the company's official website --

Source: indiatoday

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