It’s time. Android finally has a decent competitor for iMessage: RCS. As you may remember, Google has been working on introducing RCS messaging in Android for a long time now.
The company first introduced the idea back in 2017 with the new Android Messages app, which it has been updating over the last year or so. RCS messaging, or Rich Communication Service messaging, enables modern chat features that put non-iPhone devices on equal footing with Apple’s iMessage.
Google announced back in November of this year that the company will finish rolling out the new chat features as part of RCS by the end of this year, and RCS messaging is now available for all users in the United States a little early:
Hi everyone! RCS is now available to all users in US as of Monday. Make sure to update both Messages and Carrier Services.
— Sanaz (@sanazahari) December 12, 2019
RCS messaging isn’t only limited to users in the United States, by the way — users in France, Mexico, and the UK already have the new chat features, with more countries expected to support it soon.
RCS messaging is definitely a very good step forward for Android, considering all the limitations of SMS/MMS messaging. RCS messaging introduces real-time typing indicators, read receipts, ability to share files and high-resolution photos, as well as the ability to send messages over mobile data and Wi-Fi. It’s essentially an open version of iMessage.