On Friday, Google announced a push to bring Rich Communications Services (RCS) messaging to Android users around the world. RCS is a communication protocol used by wireless carriers, and it’s an upgrade to SMS.
RCS messaging to Android phones, Google aims to upgrade the current SMS protocol, which is pretty limited. Things like stickers and iMessage effects only work because of proprietary platforms, and they’ll only work within specific apps (like WhatsApp or Snapchat) or specific hardware (like iPhones). RCS coming to Android means those kinds of abilities will become native to “texting” on the Android platform, regardless of device.
Messaging on Android — and Android itself — has always been a fragmented experience. Users with different phones can have vastly different experiences on Android, a stark contrast to Apple’s consistent experience. Depending on what kind of phone you have, you may be using any one of Hangouts, Allo, Google’s Messenger or apps from Samsung, HTC and more for texting.