Android SVP offers open invitation to help Apple set up RCS text messaging on iPhone
Inside Something Tweet earlier today Google Senior Vice President Hiroshi Lockheimer urged Apple to back RCS, the next-generation text messaging standard that should replace text messaging. He offered an “open invitation to people who can get it right” and said “we’re here to help.” The translation: “people” is Apple and “we are here to help” is Google’s offer to help Apple adopt the new standard.
RCS is finally starting to gain ground around the world. Its biggest champion has been Google, which finally started using it as the default SMS solution for Android phones after trying all other solutions. RCS isn’t far from perfect, but it’s clearly better than text messaging (which is of course a low bar). After receiving contracts from US carriers to commit to the standard next year, Google is planning a new evangelistic target: Apple.
Apple has not yet responded by commenting on any of the surveys. Limit for several years on whether it intends to support RCS on the iPhone, refusing to comment on this story. It seems unlikely that RCS will be coming to iOS any time soon.
Group discussions do not have to be interrupted in this way. There is a really neat solution. Here’s an open invitation for people who can get it right: we’re here to help. https://t.co/4P6xfsQyT0
— Hiroshi Lockheimer (@lockheimer) October 7, 2021
Lockheimer’s tweet was followed by a chain of cheeky tweets that kicked off a story of golfer Bryson DeChambeau breaking up iMessage group discussions with his green bubbles, which led to the confusing official Android account pulling the parallel of green bubbles and the famous Masters green jacket. Lockheimer jokes that there is a “really neat solution” (RCS) that won’t disrupt group discussions.
RCS has had a long, complicated (and unfinished) hiatus becoming Android’s default messaging experience. Starting in March 2021, Google began receiving contracts from US carriers to commit to using Google’s Android Messages app by default on all Android phones sold on their networks. He started a successful deal with T-Mobile, then smaller contracts AT&T and Verizon. Once all of these deals are in place, Android users who text each other will switch to RCS, which supports text messages, better group chats, and larger multimedia messages.
More importantly, RCS is enabled Android Messages also supports end-to-end encryption for personal conversations. This means that Android users texting each other have better privacy and security than texting iPhone users, and vice versa. FOR SMS company Syniverse’s recent hack is just the latest example of why encryption is important in messages, especially in the default settings.
However, RCS has its own problems. Like iMessage, messages can disappear into the dark when you switch phones. It is also a standard that Google defends, but theoretically suitable for operators around the world. The Google connection has tainted RCS in the eyes of many, and of course requiring operators to agree on something is a recipe for trouble. There are also technical limitations, as Ron Amadeo explains here.
However, it seems inevitable that RCS will eventually replace texting, but only if Apple decides to support it. As more and more carriers adopt it and more users realize that text messaging is inherently less secure, Apple might start to feel enough pressure to adopt RCS. However, so far he has shown no signs of that.