Today MetroPCS announced the launch of Joyn, a bundle of communication protocols which include functionality similar to Blackberry Messenger, iMessage and Facetime. Joyn is based on the interworkable Rich Communication Services standard and promises to (eventually) deliver Metro PCS subscribers IP-based SMS/MMS, file sharing, video conferencing and contact presence.
The service mark "joyn" is actually not MetroPCS's own technology, but is rather owned by the GSMA. Joyn may be licensed by any carrier who wishes to adopt the technology, provided applicants meet GSMA's interoperability and testing standards. Because of this, we may see other carriers begin to support RCS through services like Joyn; however, FierceWireless notes that major U.S. carriers have remained discouragingly quiet on the matter.
What Joyn means to MetroPCS customers is neatly summarized below:
- Contacts Presence - joyn knows and shows how users can reach and share content with contacts at any time
- Contact availability/status sync (online, busy, away, unavailable)
- Calendar sync
- Social network interaction
- Enriched Chat - Threaded conversations keep track of who's said what and show which people and groups are available to chat and share content
- Instant messaging and group chat
- Conversational view
- Delivery of read notifications and composing indications
- Content Sharing - Bring calls and chats to life by sharing content with just one click from the address book
- Share video, images and files while on a call and within instant messaging or chat
- Display service capabilities
- WiFi and Video Calling - Stay connected with voice and video calls in areas with little or no cellular coverage
- WiFi calling and video calls over WiFi
For Joyn's initial roll out, only MetroPCS subscribers with Samsung Galaxy Attain 4G handsets will be able to enjoy the carrier's enhanced communication services. Attain 4G owners will need to install the MetroPCS Joyn app from either GooglePlay or the @metro App Store. The company says it plans to support Joyn services natively on its network "at a later date". Meanwhile, MetroPCS will be adding more RCS-enabled 4G smartphones and services to its network this year and well into 2013.
MetroPCS was recently acquired by T-Mobile -- a deal which the company hopes will add upwards of 9 million subscribers to its user base. It's unknown how MetroPCS's adoption of Joyn will affect T-Mobile, if at all.