Joyn instant messenger service announced at MWC 2012

Joyn, an instant messenger service jointly developed by many of the big players in the mobile phone industry, has been officially announced at MWC 2012.

Brands including Samsung, Sony, HTC, Vodafone, Telefonica (owner of O2), Orange and Deutsche Telekom (owner of T-Mobile) are signed up to the project, which is being run by the industry body, the GSMA.

The service aims to provide instant messaging, much in the same way as BlackBerry’s BBM or the popular WhatsApp service, as well as allowing users to quickly share photos and videos, even while they are in the middle of a call.

A working beta version of the service on the Samsung Galaxy S2 was presented by Vodafone Espana and when we put it to the test in a hands-on trial we were impressed.

It was easy to use and well-integrated into the device, displaying which contacts had compatible devices and giving options to share files from the agenda as well as directly from the camera. You could also see the status of your messages and if they had been read – reminiscent of BBM.

The service is an attempt by the industry to wrest back control of messaging, as customers abandon texts for third-party or manufacturer services such as Apple’s iMessage. The aim is for it to work across phones from the vast majority of, if not all, manufacturers and networks.

Whether Joyn will be a success and catch up with established rivals such as WhatsApp depends very much on how quickly and widely the service is rolled out by the project’s partners, although the fact it will be pre-installed on devices will weigh heavily in its favour.

Joyn will launch first in Spain through Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone, with further launches already planned in Germany, Italy, France and Korea throughout 2012. We’re not sure when, or even if, we will see a UK launch, but we will keep you posted.

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