AT&T moves its default Android messaging to RCS

AT&T moves its default Android messaging to RCS
A tweet from Google Senior VP Hiroshi Lockheimer (via CNET) reveals that AT&T's default messaging app will now use the Jibe platform allowing AT&T's Android users to have access to Rich Communication Service (RCS) features immediately. RCS is the messaging service used on the Messages by Google app and offers many of the same features that iMessage offers iOS users. Like iMessage, these extra RCS features only work when an RCS user is messaging another RCS user or during a group chat where everyone is using RCS.

Also similar to iMessage, RCS users get end-to-end encryption, higher-quality images, a larger character cap for messages, read receipts, typing indicators, and more. Platforms like RCS and iMessage use data networks instead of the cellular networks used by SMS/MMS messaging. 

The tweet from Lockheimer means that AT&T's default messaging app now uses the Jibe platform. As a result, subscribers to the nation's third-largest wireless provider will be able to  keep using the AT&T messaging app on Android giving them all of the aforementioned RCS features including new ones such as the ability to add emoji to replies. Having RCS available to AT&T's Android users by default could help the platform hit 1 billion users by the end of this year. Right now there are about 800 million RCS users worldwide.

Google has tried to pressure Apple to support RCS but for now, Apple is in no rush to do so. Last September at Vox Media's Code Conference Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked how his predecessor, the late Steve Jobs, would have felt about supporting RCS in iMessage. Cook said that Jobs "would love to convert you to an iPhone." The same person then pointed out that his mother was upset because when he sent pictures using his iPhone to her Android device, the quality of the images were poor. Cook's response, "Buy your mom an iPhone."

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