Google, Samsung Joint RCS Messaging Venture First Step to Toppling iMessage
Ask any Apple fanatic why they will never switch back to Android and the answer usually circles back to one thing - iMessage is just too good to leave behind.
And they are justified. Android Message - the native Android messaging platform - has not only been largely caught in the whirlwind of tools, platforms, and apps from Google; it simply isn't as robust. It seems like every version of Hangouts, Allo, Messages, Chat, Duo, and Voice all borrow from each other, never quite making one cohesive platform.
Sure, Android Messages for the web was a great start but iMessage brings a live look at where friends are, easy ways to transfer money, animojis, text effects, real-time typing, and, of course, facetime just as table stakes. Their end-to-end encryption, video transfers, and effortless MMS to SMS switching is just downright ingenious.
So how does Google plan on catching up? It's called Rich Communication Services (RCS for short) and it will be the first step at bringing a fractured Android ecosystem together. However, that fragmented industry means RCS implementation has to be a widespread venture, not just a Pixel or Galaxy one. More so, WhatsApp and Telegram have accumulated billions of users into their own walled gardens, making the entire venture even more difficult.
On the surface it doesn't seem like a big deal but when you start digging into what RCS means for the Android community it actually becomes an undeniable point of contention. If Google wants to tout Android as the best mobile operating system in the game, shouldn't they support all the features of its competitors?
Google's latest push comes from Samsung who explains that an "expanded collaboration" will have RCS technology working seamlessly with each other's respective platforms including cloud and business messaging platforms. Samsung has already brought elements of RCS to some phones including the Galaxy S8 and S8+, as well as the S8 Active, S9, S9+, Note8, Note9, and select A and J series running Android 9.0 or later. That is of course if their carrier and market is available.
It's a great start but it's still a tall mountain to climb for Google and their 40+ carriers on board. They are gathering momentum but having third-party apps run circles around them only hurts their ability to garner more trust and, ultimately, consumers.