Midway through last week, Google announced it was rebranding Messenger, its RCS-enabled SMS app, to Android Messages. It was an important milestone for a company attempting to solidify RCS as the de-facto next generation messaging standard.
However, it was hard to be overly enthusiastic about the announcement for one major reason. In addition to the rebranding, Google also announced several major Android OEMs, including LG, HTC and Motorola, had agreed to pre-install Android Messages on all their devices instead of their own third-party solution. Missing from the list was Samsung.
On Monday, it became clear why; Samsung announced at Mobile World Congress that it will build out its own RCS solution based on technology acquired from NewNet, a Canadian RCS operator.
All Galaxy phones running Android Marshmallow and above will have access to the company’s RCS app. Moreover, Samsung says its RCS solution is fully compatible with the GSMA’s RCS specification, which should lead to a seamless messaging experience between different devices. The company is also partnering with a number of carriers across the globe, including Deutsche Telekom, SK Telecom, T-Mobile and Vodafone, to help spur the adoption of RCS.
For the time being, it’s unclear how Samsung’s RCS move will play out in Canada.
For instance, Rogers announced late last year that every Android device it sells moving forward will come with Android Messages preinstalled. Following this announcement, it seems now any Galaxy devices Rogers sells will instead include Samsung’s RCS solution.
We’ve sent an email to Samsung, asking the company to clarify some of the finer points of today’s announcement. We’ll update this article once we hear back from Samsung.