Mobile operators lean on Samsung devices for next-generation messaging

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 will work with the latest version of Joyn, a specification that mobile operators are hoping will, against the odds, claw back messaging traffic they have lost to Web-based services.

The growing popularity of smartphones have been a blessing and a curse for mobile operators around the world. While they can sell billions of broadband subscriptions, traditional revenue steams are under pressure from Internet-based voice and messaging services such as WhatsApp and Skype.

Operators such as Orange, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom have launched services based on the Joyn specifications to help them compete. The plan is to prevent users from switching to Web-based offerings by making traditional voice and text services more modern.

Samsung is using Blackbird, the latest version of the Joyn. The company is the first smartphone vendor to have its implementation of the specification “accredited” by industry organization GSM Association, it said on Monday.

The list of features Blackbird offers includes the ability to switch to a video call or share pictures during a voice call and transfer files during group and one-to-one chats, with non-Joyn users accessing the content via an SMS, according to Samsung. The Joyn functionality has also been more tightly integrated with existing SMS apps, it said.

Samsung will begin offering smartphones, including the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S4, with Blackbird by the end of 2014 in Germany and Spain, with subsequent European availability in France, the U.K. and Italy.

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