Continuing its emphasis on rich communications services (RCS), last week MetroPCS expanded its selection of RCS-capable smartphones with the addition of the LTE-equipped LG Spirit 4G Android phone.
The LG Spirit features a 4.5-inch touchscreen that uses Corning (News - Alert) Gorilla Glass, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 2,150 mAh battery and mobile hot spot capability. It comes with a 5-megapixel rear camera with 1080p video capture, and a 1.3-megapixel front camera. QuickMemo enables onscreen notation. The phone ships with Android 4.0.
The phone retails for $199 after a limited-time $70 mail-in rebate.
The Spirit marks the fifth LG smartphone offered by MetroPCS, which was recently acquired by T-Mobile USA. It also marks the 10th RCS-capable phone offered by the mobile provider.
MetroPCS has embraced the GSMA (News - Alert)-licensed joyn brand and RCS 5.0 standards for its service rollout, according to mobile services analyst Doug Mohney, and it is the first company to roll out joyn and RCS on an LTE (News - Alert) network.
joyn, a standard for rich communications services pushed by the GSMA association of mobile operators, integrates basic voice and messaging with instant messaging, Wi-Fi calling, video calling content sharing and social presence. joyn’s contact presence feature, for example, allows users to see how individual contacts can be reached and which multimedia capabilities — such as chat or video calling — have been enabled by the contact. Contact presence detects whether a person’s phone is on, if the person is in a meeting based on his calendar status or if the person has set a status showing he is willing to accept incoming communications.
joyn, and RCS in general, is an attempt by the mobile industry to combat over-the-top (OTT) services such as Skype that piggyback off carrier networks and reduce the carrier’s ability to fully monetize the network. By deeply integrating with the carrier network and bringing added functionality that OTT can’t offer, such as push notifications, carriers hope to combat OTT services. Adoption has been slow due partially to evolving standards, noted Mohney.
“Part of the slow adoption issue has been a revolving door of standards for RCS, with RCS 5.0 now appearing to be the latest, greatest, and globally accepted standard,” he noted.
There also are a limited number of phones that currently support joyn, with select models available from HTC, LG, Nokia (News - Alert), Samsung, and Sony and RCS clients available for Android and the Apple iPhone.
Currently Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone Spain all offer joyn, and Vodafone Germany also runs the service, according to Mohney.
MetroPCS currently supports joyn contract presence with availability (online, busy, away, unavailable); calendar sync and social network interaction; enriched chat including threaded conversations; the capability to share content, group chat, and delivery of read notifications; content sharing of video, images and files while on a call and within instant messaging or chat; geo-location; and WiFi (News - Alert) support with both voice and video calls.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey