Highly anticipated: Rich messaging is finally going to become a usable part of Android as both Google and Samsung work to add support and cross-app compatibility to their messaging apps.
Samsung Electronics has shared that it is now working with Google to update Samsung Messages with Rich Communication Services (RCS) support. This update will allow Android Messages and Samsung Messages to seamlessly work together with RCS messaging on supported carriers.
Much like Apple's iMessage, WhatsApp, GroupMe, and other third-party messaging apps, RCS allows for many of the extra features not supported by regular SMS. Typing indicators, read receipts, sharing of larger images and files, and rich group chats will all become standard features.
Samsung is planning to bring RCS support to several of its existing phones. The Galaxy S8, S8+, S9, S9+, Note8, and Note9 as well as certain A-series and J-series devices will be receiving updates for Android 9.0 and above. Carrier support is still required to make use of RCS.
It is expected that future flagship phones from Samsung will also be receiving RCS support. Lower end models may eventually receive support, but Samsung's official stance is that only select future devices will be supported.
Arguably, the messaging experience on Android has not been the greatest. As different OEMs install different messaging apps, there is anything but consistency. Even carriers such as Verizon like to force their own messaging apps onto consumers. A more unified experience without eliminating choices should be welcomed in.
Since Samsung still holds a major share of the market and Google's Android Messages arrives as the default option for stock Android, this collaboration could finally put up real competition to iMessage and third-party apps.