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Google and India's Reliance conglomerate have entered a strategic partnership to develop an entry-level smartphone aimed at providing fast internet access to the country's 1.3 billion people, the Silicon Valley giant said.

The two firms will also develop "an Android-based smartphone operating system", Reliance's owner, Mukesh Ambani, told shareholders at the company's annual general meeting, emphasizing that, "India is at the doorstep of (the) 5G era."

He added, “We believe we can design an entry-level 4G… or even 5G smartphone for a fraction of its current cost. To power such a value-engineered smartphone, we also need an equally value-engineered operating system… and such an operating system must be designed from the ground up.”

Ambani earlier announced that Google had agreed to buy a USD$4.5 billion stake in Reliance's digital unit Jio Platforms.

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