So, FINALLY, rather than just making yet ANOTHER messaging app for Android (like Talk, Voice, Wave, Google+ Messenger, Hangouts, Allo, Duo, etc.), Google is aiming to make another push for its mobile messaging app. According to a report from The Verge , the Mountain View-based company’s next effort, simply called Chat. I know what you’re thinking: “GOOGLE’S MAKING ANOTHER MESSAGING APP?!? C’MON NOW!!” The kicker is that Chat isn’t just another new app; it’s a brand name for Universal Profile features in RCS, a standard set to replace old-school SMS texting we know and (sometimes) love with features similar to Apple’s iMessage (sans end-to-end encryption, unfortunately) for the masses.
Chat’s new features will reside within the Android Messages app (with some possible synchronization for use on non-phone devices) and will use data instead of SMS on your phone plan to send texts. Similar to how iMessage works, when senders using the basic Messages app send a text, and if the recipient on the other end has support for RCS, they’ll get the rich version of the message immediately; if their device doesn’t support RCS, they’ll get a regular SMS.
Earlier this year, Google announced that they had 43 carriers and device makers signed-on to support RCS, and now there’s an updated list that shows that 55 carriers, 11 OEMS and two operating system distributors: Google and Microsoft are on board (but not Apple; I know, shocker). Also according to The Verge, Sprint is ready for RCS-compatible Android phones, T-Mobile is likely to join soon, and AT&T’s and Verizon’s timetable for support is currently unknown.