Featuring read receipts, multimedia messaging, and more, RCS is a standardized attempt to upgrade SMS with features found in services like WhatsApp and iMessage. Google has just announced that a slew of OEMs have agreed to use Android Messages as the default RCS client.
Android Messages is in fact just a rebranded Google Messenger. The app’s Play Store listing and description has already been updated to reflect the change, with the app remaining identical to the current version.
Speaking to The Verge, Google’s RCS head Amir Sarhangi notes that the rebranding is intended to highlight the app’s support for the new messaging standard. Interestingly, it is being framed as similar to the Android model, with multiple partners led by Google.
The following OEMs have agreed to preload Android Messages instead of using a custom app:
LG, Motorola, Sony, HTC, ZTE, Micromax, Nokia, Archos, BQ, Cherry Mobile, Condor, Fly, General Mobile, Lanix, LeEco, Lava, Kyocera, MyPhone, QMobile, Symphony and Wiko, along with Pixel and Android One devices.
Samsung is notably absent, but the list does cover a wide swath of international device makers. Google notes that the carriers that have agreed to the RCS Universal Profile total a billion subscribers around the world. This guarantees message interoperability between those different carriers.
Google is also opening an Early Access Program to allow businesses to send messages via RCS. Examples include texts that include interactive content like boarding passes, QR codes, and more.