The highly-anticipated launch of WhatsApp and YouTube for Jio Phone on August 15 disappointed many a user as the two popular apps remained absent from the platform. With a pretty big user base hungry for WhatsApp and YouTube, two of the most widely used apps in the world, it was an unpleasant surprise when the company announced the WhatsApp rollout will be in batches and only a few users will get it in one go - though the YouTube rollout was still said to be on schedule. However, even the Jio Phone YouTube app is missing so far, though that may not be for long, Gadgets 360 has learnt. To recall, the company claims more than 25 million units of the Jio 4G feature phone have been sold so far, and a new model is set to go on sale Thursday.
At the RIL AGM last month, the company had demoed WhatsApp and YouTube on Jio Phone, with the promise of releasing them on the platform on India’s 72nd Independence Day. While we had been informed that WhatsApp on Jio Phone will not be available to all users immediately, it turned out the YouTube app was also not available for download from Jio Store. Gadgets 360 has now learnt the Jio Phone YouTube app should be available for all users over the next few days - the company will release a software update for the handset that will bring the video streaming app to the 4G feature phone. Some users should start getting this week itself, while others may receive it a few days from now.
To check whether your Jio Phone unit has YouTube now, go to the Settings app on the handset, scroll to the Device menu and open Software Update. At present, a check for software update only shows “The system is already up to date” on the unit we have access to.
This is similar to Jio Phone WhatsApp launch, which will be in batches too. Both the apps should appear in Jio Store once the device is updated, and users should be able to download them like they do Facebook, Google Maps, Hotstar and other apps on the platform.
Once the two apps are available, users will be able to access them via voice commands as well as text. YouTube will be able to take voice commands to start playing videos on the screen. For WhatsApp, users need to type the message using the T9 keypad, though the recipient of the message can be an Android or iOS user. While Jio claims that the user experience will be similar to what Google and WhatsApp-parent Facebook are offering on Android and iOS devices, there are some limitations. For instance, you won't be able to download videos on YouTube to watch them offline. You can also not be able to make voice or video calls using the WhatsApp app. Likewise, you can't make payments using the WhatsApp app.
Will Jio Phone 2 help WhatsApp, YouTube reach the next billion users in India? We discussed that 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.