Google has secured a little more purchase from Samsung for a next-generation text messaging standard it has been promoting.
The hope of the creator of Android OS for Rich Communication Services (RCS), which improves the SMS can offer compatibility with richer communications and the exchange of content, can provide its fragmented ecosystem of Android a way to offer Comparatively rich native messages, such as Apple's iMessage on iOS.
But it's a bigger task, important given how many Android devices are out there. And Google needs the entire industry to support it to support RCS (not only device manufacturers but also operators) if it is going to achieve more than fiddling.
Moving away for a moment, the even bigger problem is the messaging ship has sailed, with massively popular platforms such as WhatsApp and Telegram that has already downloaded billions of users in their respective walled gardens, moving the center away from severity of SMS.
Not that it has stopped Google, however, even when it has been confused in its strategy as well, extending its messaging efforts a bit (with false starts like Allo).
Google doubled on RCS in April when it extracted resources from the independent Allo messaging application to focus on trying to get more support for next-generation SMS instead.
It has also managed to generate a minimum of momentum behind RCS. At this year's Mobile World Congress, he announced that more than 40 operators now support RCS, compared to 27 the previous year. The most recent support figure put the operator number at 55.
But, three years after its acquisition of RCS specialist Jibe Mobile, and an ambitious talk about building the future of messaging & # 39; , there are few signs of that.
An added disadvantage is that operators must also have implemented RCS actively, not only because they have foreseen it. And it is not clear exactly how many they have.
It is also not clear how many RCS users there are at this stage. (In 2016, operators simply talked about building "one way" for one billion users, at a time when SMS had several billion users, suggesting that they saw little chance of creating something near the ubiquity of new messaging. generation through the standard). 19659002] The latest RCS development supported by Google, announced through a press release, is an "enhanced collaboration" between Mountain View and Samsung, saying that their respective message clients "will work seamlessly with each company's RCS technology." , including messaging platforms in the cloud and in the company. "
The pair has previously added RCS support to "select Samsung devices", but now they are saying that the RCS features will be carried to some existing Samsung smartphones, including (and starting with) the Galaxy S8 and S8 +, as well as the S8 Active, S9, S9 +, Note8, Note9, and select the A and J series that run Android 9.0 or later.
Which sounds like a few devices. But it is also more confusing than that, because again the support remains subject to the availability of the operator and the market. Therefore, it will not be universal even in that subset of phones with Samsung Android.
They also say that (select) the new Samsung Galaxy smart phones will natively support RCS messages. But, again, that's only when operators support the standard .
"This means that consumers and brands will be able to enjoy richer chats with both Android messages and users of Samsung messages," they added after the chain of warnings.
Although public relations end on an optimistic note, with the two companies talking about an "improved messaging experience across the Android ecosystem" – there is clearly zero chance of that happening. A clear consequence of the rich & # 39; biodiversity & # 39; of the Android ecosystem is the reduced ubiquity for standardization games on several devices like this one.
Still, if Google can select enough devices and flagship markets to buy RCS, it could have realized that critical messaging is massive enough to stack against Apple's iMessage. Therefore, a greater acceptance by Samsung, whose high-end devices are the most demanded with iPhones for cash from consumers, certainly helps their strategy.