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Aarogya Setu App for Reliance's Jio Phone Said to Be Launched Soon

Within a week, a version of the app will be rolled out to more than 100 million users of the JioPhone.

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Aarogya Setu App for Reliance's Jio Phone Said to Be Launched Soon

Aarogya Setu was launched by the Government of India last month

Highlights
  • Close to 9 crore users have downloaded the Aarogya Setu app
  • French hacker Elliot Alderson has claimed that the app is not secure
  • The Jio Phone version of Aarogya Setu will be launched within a week

India will within days roll out a version of its Aarogya Setu coronavirus contact-tracing application that can run on Reliance's Jio Phone models, as it looks to increase the reach of the system, a senior government official said on Thursday.

India, which has imposed the world's biggest shutdown to battle the spread of the coronavirus, last month launched the Aarogya Setu (Health Bridge) app -- a Bluetooth and GPS-based application which alerts users who may have come in contact with people who later test positive for COVID-19.

The app, which has been downloaded 9 crore times so far, was initially available to India's roughly 50 crore smartphone users on Google's Android and Apple devices, but not to around 40 crore users of the more basic feature phones.

 

Within a week, a version of the app will be rolled out to more than 10 crore users of the $9 (Rs. 1,200 in India) Jio Phone - a cheap, Internet-enabled feature phone that runs on a mobile operating system named KaiOS, a senior government official told Reuters.

Launched by Reliance Industries' telecoms unit in 2017, the phone gives users access to 4G mobile data and apps including Facebook popular WhatsApp messenger.

"We are pushing it ... the testing is going on," said the official who declined to be identified as the plan is not public.

India's technology ministry and Reliance Jio did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

Contact tracing apps such as Aarogya Setu are being used in an attempt to speed up the process of identifying, testing and isolating people exposed to the virus before they spread it to others.

While many countries around the world are using similar apps, some such as Australia and Colombia are turning to technology from Apple and Google amid citizens' privacy concerns and glitchy state-backed systems.

The government has also launched a toll-free number that connects feature phone and fixed-line phone users to the Aarogya Setu platform, allowing them to self-assess for COVID-19 via an interactive voice response system.

As India eased some of its lockdown restrictions, it ordered all public and private sector employees returning to work to use the app, saying company heads will be held responsible for ensuring 100 percent coverage among employees.

A French hacker, who goes by the name Elliot Alderson on Twitter, has pointed out privacy flaws in India's app but the government responded by assuring its citizens that it is safe.

© Thomson Reuters 2020


Is Mi 10 an expensive OnePlus 8 or a budget budget S20 Ultra? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value for Money
  • Good
  • Low upfront cost
  • 4G and VoLTE support
  • Jio Apps with free subscription
  • Excellent battery life
  • OTA update capability
  • Bad
  • Low quality screen
  • Plenty of fine print
Display 2.40-inch
Processor Spreadtrum SC9820A (SPRD 9820A/QC8905)
Front Camera 0.3-megapixel
Rear Camera 2-megapixel
RAM 512MB
Storage 4GB
Battery Capacity 2000mAh
OS KAI OS
Resolution 240x320 pixels
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