Starting one year from now, Verizon will join AT&T and T-Mobile in preloading Android Messages as the default messaging application on all Android telephones it sells possibly beginning in 2022. It’s the last advance for making RCS Chat the cutting edge standard intended to supplant SMS.
Compared to modern messengers, the functionality of SMS is limited. The maximum length of individual messages is quite manageable; images or even videos of reasonable quality are inconceivable – and all of this is sent in plain text, which is simply no longer up to date from a security perspective. However, classic text messages do have one advantage; They arrive on every smartphone, regardless of which app is running.
Modern messengers, on the other hand, are isolated solutions, from Whatsapp to Signal. They all only run with the right app and cannot communicate with each other.
A standard solution
There has been an alternative for a long time under the name Rich Communication Services (RCS). But as it is in the world of telecommunications providers: There are numbers of companies involved, all of which have different interests, and so often, nothing comes out in the end. In this respect, RCS lay idle for a long time until Google took up this topic out of its interest. But even this initiative was crowned with little success at first. Attempts to inspire the providers for RCS met with little approval. But then, it got too colorful for Google. Instead of waiting for the help of the network provider, the RCS support was integrated directly into the own SMS app Google Messages.
The major US providers AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile have joined these efforts. Specifically, this means that in the future, all Android smartphones that are sold through the network provider should be equipped with Google Messages as the default SMS app – and thus also have RCS support.
In other countries, the providers do not have a similarly strong influence on the software equipment; what is more important here is what the device manufacturers decide. However, there has been significant progress in this regard in the recent past. For example, Samsung is also using Google Messages as the default SMS app for its current devices. And many other manufacturers are also adopting Google’s software on their devices.
An iMessage counterpart
But at least one other effect remains: with the extensive availability of Google Messages, something like an iMessage replacement for Android is finally establishing itself. So a chat app that maybe not everyone uses, but which is always there as a back-up and via which you can reach everyone, after all, there is also SMS as a second option. In addition, this should result in an automatic upgrade for all those who still use SMS. To date, it does not seem Apple will be joining the bandwagon.