RCS (rich communication service) is heralded as the next evolution of SMS messaging. It8217;s a service that8217;s designed to replace SMS and MMS, shifting messaging to data and providing a much wider range of connected features.
It8217;s basically like a non-Apple version of iMessage, something that Android users have been lacking for a number of years.
While the standard for RCS has been defined for some time, it8217;s generally been left to the networks/carriers to roll it out 8211; which hasn8217;t happened. In the UK, Vodafone adopted the service in 2014, but it was the only UK network to do so.
Google is now taking the bull by the horns and enabling RCS in the UK and France, according to a report from The Verge, but with no word on other regions. On Android devices, the Messages app will be able to send RCS messages using Google8217;s servers and bypassing the need for the mobile phone network to facilitate it 8211; it doesn8217;t have to go via the mobile phone operators8217; servers.
This is an important point: the Android Messages app supports RCS, SMS and MMS and can switch between the protocols just as Apple8217;s Messages app can, meaning that you8217;ll no longer need a separate app or service to get those advanced chat features. You will have to opt-in and accept Google8217;s terms of service, however 8211; it won8217;t just automatically happen.
Android8217;s failure so far on enhanced messaging has been a multitude of failed chat apps and a general acceptance of third-party services by Android users instead 8211; WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger particularly.
Does that mean you8217;ll be able to ditch third-party chat apps? Not really 8211; RCS will only work over Android and isn8217;t supported by Apple 8211; so if you have an iPhone user in a chat, it won8217;t work using RCS 8211; it will be SMS or MMS instead. That dreaded green bubble moment.
Three currently has a support page for Enhanced Chat (which is the RCS service), saying that Huawei and Honor devices will be amongst the first to get RCS in June, with Samsung following in July or August 8211; so we definitely know it is coming.
You can check if you have access to RCS by opening Google Messages, opening the menu top right and tapping on settings > chat features. Here you8217;ll see if the service has been enabled for you. We will update as soon as we hear more from the UK networks.