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Reliance JioPhone: Closer look at WhatsApp, YouTube apps on the smart feature phone

Reliance Jio will roll out an update to JioPhone smart feature phones on August 15 to add popular apps such as WhatsApp and YouTube. Ahead of the official roll out, we take a closer look at how the applications function on a feature phone.

tech Updated: Jul 21, 2018 13:05 IST
Marcia Sekhose
Marcia Sekhose
Hindustan Times
Reliance JioPhone,whatsapp on jio phone,jio phone features
WhatsApp and YouTube will be available on JioPhone starting August 15.(HT Photo)

Reliance Jio earlier this month unveiled JioPhone 2, an upgraded version of the company’s first smart feature phone. The company also announced updating JioPhones with support for popular mobile apps like WhatsApp and YouTube – top missing apps on the smart feature phone. Reliance Jio’s JioPhone 2 will also have these popular applications.

The update for WhatsApp and YouTube on JioPhone will be rolled out on August 15. The same day, sales for JioPhone 2 will begin. Before the update rolls out for all users in India, we took a closer look at how the WhatsApp and YouTube apps work on JioPhone.

WhatsApp on Reliance JioPhone

Reliance JioPhone runs a customised version of WhatsApp which looks quite different from the Android version. KaiOS, the developers behind the software for the Jio smart feature phones, has ensured the UI is pretty simple and optimised for a low-end device. On a related note, KaiOS has received major funding from Google which will pave way for more apps on the smart feature phone.

Coming back to the application, you are greeted with your chat list on opening WhatsApp. There’s a search bar on top of the chats where users can look for contacts and groups. On the left side you have the ‘new chat’ option and on the right there’s a ‘more’ button.

A look at WhatsApp chat on JioPhone. (HT Photo)

Within a chat you’ll find the text box below along with two other options sitting side by side. All the features of WhatsApp are available on JioPhone. You can send photos, videos and voice recording as well.

While the interface is pretty simple and easy-to-use, navigating through track pads can be tiresome. You’ll have to use the navigation buttons to scroll around the app which takes some effort and time. But this is most probably because we have grown accustomed to touchscreens.

A look at YouTube on JioPhone. (HT Photo)

YouTube on Reliance JioPhone

Just like WhatsApp, navigation for YouTube felt cumbersome. Except that, the overall application experience on JioPhone was quite impressive. The YouTube application on Reliance JioPhone retains the core features of the main version.

You have your feed, trending and profile tabs on the home page of YouTube. The search bar is located on top of the app. You cannot change the video quality on YouTube but the default setting is pretty decent for a feature phone.

You can access other features like sharing the video, check related videos, and also choose to like or dislike. Videos can also be played in full-screen mode.

JioPhone launched with access to the company’s suite of apps like JioTV, JioMusic, and more. Earlier this February, Facebook for JioPhone was announced. After much anticipation, the company finally confirmed WhatsApp and YouTube for JioPhone.

First Published: Jul 18, 2018 17:22 IST