The head of Android at Google has extended an “open invitation” for Apple to collaborate on integrating the RCS messaging platform with iMessage.
iOS 8 was released in 2011, and it offered users a choice between other over-the-top instant messaging applications such as BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and WhatsApp.
However, it is currently available only on Apple devices, such as the iPhone 5S or later models of iPad Pro.
This implies that iMessage users wanting to interact with non-iOS devices must use SMS texts that do not allow for rich media, such as pictures, videos, and gifs.
WhatsApp’s cross-platform capabilities have allowed it to become quite popular in many areas.
Apple RCS users will soon have more options.
WhatsApp’s popularity has been a double-edged sword: the app’s reliance on Facebook infrastructure has made it prone to outages.
In May 2018, WhatsApp was down for approximately five hours, causing anxiety about whether such dependence on the application was dangerous.
Google, with aid from the mobile industry body GSMA, device manufacturers, and mobile network operators, has been pushing for Rich Communications Services (RCS) as a replacement to SMS.
RCS is designed to work across multiple vendors and supports rich media content; it is accessible through Android Messages in an attempt to increase usage.
Senior Vice President for Android, Chrome, Play and Photos at Google Hiroshi Lockheimer renews his hope that Apple will join the program in a tweet that referred to American golfer Bryson DeChambeau’s employment of an Android device.
The only member of the victorious US Ryder Cup team who didn’t have an iPhone was the former US Open champion.
Because of this, his iMessage group chat was devoid of rich media and instead surrounded by a green bubble, as opposed to the usual blue.
DeChambeau’s teammates made fun of him for this, but the official Android Twitter account backed up The Scientist, an alias given to him because of his analytical approach to the game.
Locksheimer said, “Group chats shouldn’t break this way. There is a really clear solution available. Here’s an open invitation to those who can make things right: we’re here to assist.”
The term ‘Really Clear Solution’ may be seen as a nod to RCS, and the message also included green and blue heart emojis, which symbolized iMessage’s two chat bubble colors.
The entry of Apple into the RCS ecosystem would be a significant boost to mobile messaging, and it would provide a genuine, vendor-independent alternative to WhatsApp — something that may well have become more appealing in recent days after WhatsApp’s outage.