RCS messaging now available for all Android phones, brings iMessage features

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If there’s one thing that iPhone users love to tout over their Android counterparts, it is iMessage. The lightning-fast, well-integrated messaging protocol has revolutionized the way people communicate. While Android is comparable to iOS in most aspects, it has always struggled to stay competitive in the messaging department.

That’s about to change. Google announced that RCS messaging, the replacement for traditional SMS, is now rolling out to all Android phones. For non-Apple smartphone users, this is a big deal. The upgrade will bring features like read receipts, typing indicators, and high-definition media sharing to Android text messaging.

Welcome Change

Some users get a little wary whenever big changes occur on their platform. This is especially true when the change affects something as vital as their texting app. However, the transition from SMS to RCS messaging should be smooth and without issue.

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Android users in the United States will need to update their Google Messenger and Carrier Services apps to access the new protocol. After that, most of the changes will take effect behind the scenes. Nonetheless, users will surely notice the enhancements that RCS provides.

Though it isn’t a replica of iMessage, it is fairly similar. RCS messaging is a far more modern approach to texting than SMS and works better in today’s world of cross-platform multimedia sharing. It’s also better for group messages. Android users won’t be glared at by everyone with an iPhone next time someone sets up a group chat.

That’s not all that RCS brings to the table. It also includes features like read receipts and typing indicators. This will allow Android users to enjoy many of the functionalities of iMessage without switching over to iOS.

Ahead of Schedule

Although for Android users it seems that the wait for RCS has been an eternity, Google is actually ahead of schedule. It first announced the upgrade more than a year and a half ago. Since then, the company has been collaborating with smartphone manufacturers and all four major carriers in the U.S. to bring the dream to life.

A tweet from Sanaz Ahari, director of product management for Google’s communication services confirmed the rollout. It says, “Hi everyone! RCS is now available to all users in [the] US as of Monday. Make sure to update both Messages and Carrier Services.”

The upgrade is a big step in the right direction for Android. Back in October, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T signed the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative. The agreement has helped speed up the deployment of RCS and will hopefully do the same for the adoption of the technology by consumers.

As for Android users outside of the U.S. (and there are a lot), another tweet from Ahari asks for them to “stay tuned.” Though it may take some time, it’s likely that RCS will roll out worldwide before long. SMS simply isn’t smart enough to handle the demands of today’s texters.

Fortunately, U.S. Android users will be able to start experiencing the benefits of RCS as soon as they update their phones. Now, if only something can be done about the horrid Android emojis.

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