SMS text messaging is undergoing a major renovation, with the announcement late last week of an expansion in the initiative by Google, carriers and manufacturers to launch a new standard, Rich Communications Services (RCS) for Android. The initiative itself was announced a year ago.
A new Android Messages application — which supports SMS and MMS, as well as RCS — will replace the current Android native messaging app, Messenger for Android.
It’s a direct response to the capabilities offered by such messaging apps as Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger, Apple’s iMessage, third-party products like Line and others. These offerings are quickly moving beyond messaging, becoming full-fledged communications platforms, and now Android has one built in.
RCS enables group chats, higher quality images in messages, location sharing, video calls, appointment scheduling, prescription refilling and the ability to read receipts or get directions, all within the new Messages.