After laying the groundwork and garnering support from carriers worldwide, Google is finally launching RCS messaging. Android devices on Sprint will be the first to send and receive enhanced SMS messages that feature read receipts, better group chat, high-res photo sharing, and more.
Sprint in the US is the first carrier launching support for the new universal RCS profile. In total, more than 58 carriers and manufacturers — comprising 4.7 billion subscribers globally — have committed to supporting the single, standard implementation of RCS. The spec includes support for features like chat, group chat, file transfer, audio messaging, video share, multi-device, enriched calling, location share and live sketching.
To send and receive these messages, Sprint users will need to use the recently redesigned and updated Google Messenger app. Features like group chat, typing indicators, read receipts, and more will be powered by the Jibe RCS cloud Google bought a year ago.
Subscribers currently using select LG and Nexus phones on Sprint will have the messaging experience upgraded automatically through an app update, with some already receiving an in-app prompt to switch over to RCS. New settings will allow users to control read receipts and typing indicators.Other Sprint Android devices can download Messenger from the Play Store.
Starting next year, all new Android devices from Sprint will come with Messenger for Android preloaded as the default SMS and RCS messaging experience. Google has yet to cite other carriers that in the US that will adopt RCS, but looks forward to launching with more partners in the coming months.