Google could make Android RCS functions available to other apps

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Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

TL; DR

  • Evidence from an APK teardown suggests that Google could potentially open an Android RCS API to other developers.
  • This would mean that you could access RCS features through apps other than Google’s own messages.
  • It’s too early to say what that would look like or how open it would be, but the possibility exists.

After years of waiting for US carriers to round up their joint action, Google finally brought Rich Communication Services (RCS) to the masses in 2020. RCS is basically an improved text message that lets you get read receipts and send large files, share location information, and more.

Even if Google takes the reins in hand, Android RCS support isn’t perfect. For it to work, you and the person (s) you’re chatting with must be using Google’s Messages app. While Messages is a decent text messaging app, it lags far behind many of its competitors in terms of useful features. For example, messages have only recently had the ability to schedule texts, which other apps have had for years.

See also: The best SMS apps and SMS apps for Android

At XDA developer, however, the team determined that this problem might have an in-depth solution. By ripping down the Latest News APK, XDA found evidence that an Android RCS API might be on the way. If so, it would theoretically allow other SMS apps to hook into messages and get RCS support. In theory, this could allow you to see RCS support on your Android phone even when you (or the other person) are not using Messages.

Of course, for this to work the developer needs to add support for this RCS API to the SMS app you are using. However, it wouldn’t be difficult to do so, so it can be assumed that most popular apps would support this functionality.

This is all really good news, but don’t get your hopes up just yet. We saw evidence in 2019 that Google developed an Android RCS API, but only Messages had access to it. Today’s news is a good sign, but you will have to wait a while before we really see this – if we do see it at all.



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