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iMessage for Android is the messaging solution we need, not the one we want

iMessage open on an iPhone X
iMessage open on an iPhone X (Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

This week, I received a new Android phone in the mail. I removed its plastic wrapping, opened the top, unfurled the hastily-placed screen protector and turned it on. When I booted it up, I logged in with my Google account, restored from a backup of my Pixel 3, and waited for the 80 or so apps I regularly use to restore some or all of their user data.

This is my routine for getting a new phone, and it allows me to get up and running, thanks to Google Cloud Backup, in about 30 minutes. It's a tantalizing and delightful taste of automation, but its usefulness is only as good, and as engaging, as the apps on my phone.

Android has a messaging app abundance, but it's often too much of a good thing.

With messaging being the quintessential smartphone experience, and with the definition of 'social networking' expanding to include feeds like YouTube, Twitch, Reddit, and even Fortnite, communicating on a smartphone is often disjointed and frustrating.

Everyone has a preferred means of communicating, and while the ownership of many of these tools has consolidated over the years — looking at you, Facebook — the choices themselves have proliferated.

On Android phones, the messaging conundrum is no secret, and Google's done nothing to help the problem by seemingly releasing, or modifying, its flagship messaging tool every few months. Allo, goodbye.

The maelstrom of choice is exacerbated by geographic divisions; WhatsApp is popular in much of Europe and South America, while WeChat is preferred in China, Kakao in South Korea and Line in Japan. Facebook Messenger has an enormous built-in audience of Facebook users but it's normally considered the path of least resistance, rather than the preferred option, for its hundreds of millions of users. And then there's iMessage, which is the default messaging platform (and widely considered a social network) on Apple-built devices, but its dominance doesn't extend beyond North America.

Still, iPhone users love iMessage, and their reasons for amity are not surprising: its seamless integration with regular text messages means that you don't need to open a separate app. Once Apple's servers detect whether a recipient — via phone number or email address — is part of the iMessage database, it switches the bubbles from green to blue.

Google's tried to compete with iMessage, directly and indirectly, for years. Hangouts and Allo fizzled as consumer products, so it's worked with the GSMA — the standards body and carrier advocacy group — to implement RCS Univeral Profile across a number of devices. Heralded as the Great Messaging Unifier, RCS builds on traditional SMS in the same texting app that ships with your phone.

While right now it's limited to a few apps and carriers, the eventual goal is for every phone on every carrier to natively support RCS and make something like iMessage for Android unnecessary.

Except for one thing: end-to-end encryption. The Verge's Dieter Bohn argued earlier this year that there's a "moral case for iMessage on Android," noting that while there isn't much of a business case for Apple to bring iMessage to Android, there is one that appeals to the greater good.

Every time I hear Tim Cook talk about privacy as a human right, I think about the biggest thing his company could do to help ensure that privacy: spread the ability for people to have conversations that are safe from government snooping across the world. And the largest, most impactful way Apple could do that is to release iMessage on Android.

RCS brings most of the features we take for granted in nearly every messenger — support for longer conversations, high-quality images and video, scalable group chats, file transfers, and lots more — to the Android user's native SMS app. Similar to iMessage, once two devices "shake hands," all of these features kick in automatically. In practice, the experience is quite similar to iMessage, with one important difference: RCS does not support end-to-end encryption.

Services like iMessage, WhatsApp, Signal, and with some tweaks, Telegram and Facebook Messenger, encrypt communications between the sender and receiver, so there's no possibility of interception or surveillance. While governments are increasingly decrying the use of encryption as they attempt to prevent terrorism, it's seen as similarly indispensable for consumers looking to maintain a semblance of control over their online privacy.

And while WhatsApp is bigger than iMessage, Facebook's encroaching overbearance over the service, and its inevitable back-end integration with Messenger and Instagram, have given many of its users pause. Other options, like Signal, are more extensible but more difficult to use, and like WhatsApp don't sync across multiple devices.

Which brings us back to iMessage. A small but vocal set of people continue to argue that Apple should bring iMessage to Android. As recent as six months ago, the notion would have been absurd — the company's finances didn't warrant any such entreaty to the other side. But lately, with the iPhone train slowing and the company increasingly putting its focus on services revenue, there's an argument to be made that enough Android users subscribing to iMessage at $5 or $10 per month would make the investment worthwhile. Or Apple would bundle it into a wider iCloud subscription, which would likely make it easier to justify the cost.

Or, even better, it would be free, a service that Apple sees as adding value to its overall brand rather than, as it is today, a lock-in mechanism for iPhones. If it were free and available to all Android users, iMessage could operate as a Trojan Horse into Apple's other cross-platform services — Apple Music, Texture, and perhaps its forthcoming TV service, which is all but a lock for Samsung, LG, and Vizio televisions already.

The idea of Apple shoring its services revenue through an iMessage subscription is unlikely but more possible than it's ever been.

Then there's the other side of the argument: would Android users even want an iMessage that's merely an app-based alternative to WhatsApp and countless other siloed alternatives? Much of iMessage's appeal is that you don't have to think about it — it just works. It's also pre-installed on every iPhone in the world. That's a very big built-in audience for Apple, even if its users choose not to download a single app. On Android, however, it would be yet another app to seek out, download, sign into, and manage.

So I put the question to Twitter and found a minute amount of support for the idea — not surprising given the audience, but still, the virulence of the response was surprising.

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As in so many areas, Android users are awash in options for communication tools but the consensus I'm seeing is that it's too much of a good thing. An official iMessage app for Android could utilize Apple's backend to sync across devices, as iPhones, iPads, and Macs do today. It would also free the blue bubble from the confines of the iPhone.

How valuable that expansion would be to the average Android user, and whether Apple could turn it into a viable side business, remains to be seen. The bigger question, at least in my mind, is whether Google cares enough about privacy and security to stop relying on third parties to build encrypted means of communication. It knows that a fully integrated solution like RCS is a powerful and audacious unifier, but without encryption, it's just another mediocre option in a sea of competitors.

Want another take? Watch Rene Ritchie's opinion in video form above or read his written take over at iMore

Daniel Bader was a former Android Central Editor-in-Chief and Executive Editor for iMore and Windows Central. 

197 Comments
  • Hard to imagine people paying for iMessage in any numbers that would justify the service. At one point it looked like Apple was going to really build out iMessage to be a more full featured "WeChat style" platform. That effort seems to have stalled, but it would have given Apple the right incentives to expand to Android. Probably not as good for privacy, though. Having said all that, I think this is mainly a tech journalist issue.
  • I'd pay to have iMessage. There's a real beauty to how seamlessly iMessage works across Apple devices, and I've love to see that extended to Android. Also, I'm the only Android user in my family, so it would make communication just a little easier (though RCS has helped).
  • Apple is too greedy to introduce iMessage to Android. Personally, I think WhatsApp is way better than iMessage.
  • Totally agree with you
  • You could argue the merits of the apps themselves compared to others, but where iMessage wins over WhatsApp is seamless integration across all your devices. WhatsApp won't work on both your phone and tablet at the same time and doesn't have cloud storage of your messages (at least not just time I used it).
    YMMV
  • IMessage doesn't seamlessly integrate over any of my devices at all. What you mean to say is it'll integrate only over other Apple devices...then yes that is indeed a limited feature of iMessage. Huge difference. The biggest differentiator and why I use whatsapp is it's cross platform so I can text anyone and, most importantly, everyone. I'd rather 100 times over be able to message everyone on my one cellphone rather than only 30% of people but over several devices...(And I have an iPhone).
  • WhatsApp isn't cross platform. It has horrible desktop support and the desktop app only works when linked with a phone. This is in complete contrast to iMessage, which is WAY better there. I'm not even sure what argument you're trying to make... you are so off base. The reason why Apple can afford to keep iMessage Apple device exclusive is because it is such a solid selling point and value-add for their hardware and platforms. WhatsApp gained prominence as a poor man's iMessage - particularly in areas where Apple has less market penetration due to people not being able to afford their devices. Facebook is too "vulnerable" to foreign governments, etc. due to their social network business model to trust. Apple isn't, because they have strategically stayed out of (or dropped out of) those markets to protect themselves (contrast with Google, which spent a decade trying to compete with Facebook in its markets, and derives most of its revenue from search and advertising).
  • Wait, so imessage works on Linux and Windows? If not, why the hell should I or over 80% of the market care?
  • Well iMessage doesn't work on the most popular platforms in the world at all .
    So as imperfect as Whatsapp is is still better than Nothing.
  • No, that's not at all what I meant to say. If you have Apple devices, Messages will work on all of them at the same time, send a text message to my iPhone phone number and the message simultaneously appears on my iPad, my laptop, etc., even if they're turned off, the messages come down when turned on. Presumably, since it's cloud based, the same would happen with my Pixel 3XL if it had an approved Messages app.
    WhatsApp is tired to a single phone number and the data is not cloud based, so one phone only and maybe crappy log on to the web for partial functionality. You can only message "everyone" on your one cellphone with WhatsApp if they also have WhatsApp, right?
    Messages will message everyone with a cellphone number, whether they have Messages or not, it just sits out some of the rich features. It will also message anyone with a registered email address in the Messages system.
    Other than people around the world who adopted WhatsApp for free text messaging making it widely used it's hardly a one solution for all unless it's changed radically from when I stopped using it.
  • Actually, Telegram is way UNDERrated in my opinion.
    It does seemless integration across all devices. I get messages on my PC, Note 9, iPhone, Tablet all at the same time.
    Not that I use all at once but it integrates really well. I prefer Telegram over WhatsApp too.
    Only thing is WhatsApp has been marketed really well and is used by many so I use that as well.
  • Nobody knows how great Telegram actually is..
    I think, we're the only ones who use Telegram..
  • Totally agree about Telegram, it's VERY underrated. Everbody I get to switch to it loves it. Plus you don't have to disclose your phone # to others like with WhatsApp
  • " iPhone users love iMessage" is a sweeping statement. When I used an iPhone, I HATED iMessage. My other half dislikes it, and one of the fruits-of-my-loins never uses it on his iPhone. We don't use it on our Macs, either. It's a ghastly, poorly designed messenger. Integration with SMS is a nightmare to work with. Telegram, on the other hand... every member of my family – immediate and extended – uses it. Voice calls, video calls, groups, private chats, self-destructing messages, sending files, and storing files* all work perfectly and seamlessly across all platforms. *Storing files: send a file to yourself through Telegram, and it's stored in the Telegram cloud, and is accessible from all your devices. Who needs AirDrop?
  • I can't switch to android from my iPhone bc of iMessage. I use a mac for my desktop and iPad when I travel. With my iPhone, I get my texts everywhere all the time and always in sync. There is no equal solution for Android. iMessage for Android might cause Apple to lose some iPhone users, but they would probably pick up iPad and Mac users.
  • Except for people that use iMessage if your device doesn't have iMessage and the other does no biggie because the message will still be received by the recipient but in WhatsApp that doesn't happen because both devices have to have the app installed. SMS is the universal chat platform as of now.
  • Yeah and installing an app is way easier than buying a new phone. Thta's why Whatsapp has way more users than iMessage(above 2 billion on Android Alone).
  • WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, and I don't agree that it's better than iMessage + FaceTime. WhatsApp also had really bad Desktop support. The fact that iMessage and FaceTime work so much better on macOS, without being tied to a browser tab or browser masquerading as an app is a big plus, as well. iMessage will work even if you don't have an iPhone. You just need an iMac, MacBook, Mac Pro, iPad, or iPod Touch. WhatsApp is simply not an answer to that; and neither is RCS.
  • I am surprised Viber is not even mentioned.
  • I think the fact that everyone in these comments wants their favorite chat app to be mentioned is a point the article tries to make... There are too many, and this leads to too much fragmentation whicih only exacerbates the issue. People are fatigued with these messaging app wars, and they don't want to have to install 5 chat apps just because their friends all have different favorites. With Apple you buy iPhones and everything just works. Google could have done this with Google Talk, but they were too lazy. When Microsoft killed WLM, most of my friends moved to Google Talk... Almost none moved to Skype. When Google announced Talk was getting killed off (and no longer bundled with Android), almost everyone moved to Facebook. The only way to get a decent IM experience out of the box without using Facebook, was to buy an iPhone (cuase the marketshare here is very high for them). That's what I did. I just came back, to the Note 9, but I'm pretty sure I'm going back to Apple in a few months.
  • WhatsApp is owned by Facebook and people are OK with that after all the controversy surrounding FB and Zuckerberg? I deleted my facebook and instagram and I have no regrets.
  • Same here. Nothing with Facebook in my house.
  • To be honest I think most of the "normal" people completely disassociate WhatsApp from Facebook in their minds somehow... Same with Instagram.
  • Shocking as this may sound, FB still has hundreds of millions of users. While, I'm not one of them, many people are "OK" with it all.
  • Quarter 4 of 2018 they clocked over 2.3 billion unique active users per month.
  • I love iMessages but there is now way I'm paying $5 or $10 a month for it. I mean I wouldn't mind a one time $4.99 buy for it but a month. Hell no. It's not worth that much. Whatsapp might not be as pretty or have as much features but it's end to end encrypted and that's just fine by me
  • BlackBerry Hub and services costs me £11 a year - which I think is a bargain but YMMV. iMessage would be worth about that to me.
  • I love being on Android over iOS but I do miss iMessage. Of my core group of friends, only 3 are on Android while everyone else is on iOS. Texting/messaging is horrid on Android and I would gladly pay for iMessage on my phone. Sending pictures and video between my wife and I have made us choose another messeging service because videos of my daughter in a grainy mess are unacceptable. Then Google goes and announces the shut down of Allo. Time to go hunt for another service we can use. Ugh. Then forget about getting my friends and family to download and sign up for another messaging service when imessage works great for them. I know what others say but iMessage would have a place on Android. It wouldn't move the financials much at all but the convenience is there for most everyone with large amounts of iPhones in their life. I dont want to switch, I cant convince my family and friends to find a new messaging app, hell I cant even get my wife to use the one we decide on regularly. If apple doesn't step up and deliver thos then maybe its time to find new friends and a new wife.
  • It doesn't fix everything, but you and your wife can share videos through Google Photos.
  • That doesn't fix the problem at all. The problem is getting people to adopt a new app. The problem is lack of a seamless user experience. Every time the messaging app discussion comes up people always say "well you can use this app to do that, and that app to do this, and it's basically the same thing". But it's not. It's not even close, and actually it highlights the very problem that's trying to be solved. Honestly, if you haven't used iMessage for decent period of time then it's really hard to "get it".
  • You're right. I don't want to teach my parents to use Google Photos. They are in their mid to late 60s and it would be a battle. iMessage just works like any normal text app.
  • Yup and Google could have built one years ago and just flat out didn't bother to.
  • Google should have bought WhatsApp when they could have. Would have solved all their messaging problems.
  • Actually Google Photos is the answer for sending pictures and videos. Especially videos actually. The reasons- The receiver does not need Photos to view pics or video. You can send links vs data heavy pictures and video...and the person getting it also doesn't have to burn their data to download it if they want to wait till they have wifi...or they can just download it. You can also discard the link. Having been an iMessage user in the past...Yes...it is still faster to send a pic just through it as it is itergrated but honestly most of the time i want to send media I open Photos first select the media I want to share and them send the link. Note- the data savings only apply if you wait till your media uploads via WiFi and at that point iMessage wouldn't burn your data either.
  • I do the same with Amazon Photos and it works great!
  • Apple has had iCloud Photo/Video Sharing forever, and you can view them in a web browser without an Apple ID (which is free, anyways). This existed years before Google Photos was a thing, so no... Google Photos is not the answer for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch/macOS users who want to share Photos and Videos. iCloud Photo Sharing is like your own private, secure Instagram between you and your friends, even... Complete with Likes, Comments, and the ability to allow friends to add their own content to the shared libraries, etc. Many people don't use it, but it's there... The issue isnt' that iMessage is faster. You can MMS Pictures and videos without issue. The issue is that MMS applies such awful compression that the content is usably bad by comparison. iMessage is, at its heart, an IM services... it just steps in and takes priorities - transparently - when both sender and recipient are using Apple devices. It's the implementation that makes it so good, not necessarily what it does ;-)
  • >so no... Google Photos is not the answer< Actually it is the answer.
    Google Photos is cross platform and it allows users to both share and receive files/links. It's also unlimited and free, unlike icloud.
    You can also have shared albums with another person between an Android and an iOS device. Every time you add a file to that shared album the other person is notified and it can view them.
    Also the last point. Google Photos has well over 1 billion users on Android alone. It's not an uncommon app.
  • I agree ,,at least try bro🤔🤔🤔😂😂😂😂
  • "That doesn't fix the problem at all. The problem is getting people to adopt a new app. The problem is lack of a seamless user experience." Let's not exaggerate. In itself Google Photos is a better app for sharing than iMessage anyway and not both persons need to have the app. If the person that revives the link doesn't have Google Photos installed he ca still view the files in his web browser. It's very easy and seamless.
  • Or my friend wit benefits 😂😂😂😂
  • Define horrid, and how that applies to messaging on Android. Most of the time any issues with sending images or other media arise when one of the people is using iOS and the other Android. Android to Android usually send pretty well. No issues that I can recall.
  • Android to Android is an absolute mess compared to iMessage when sending videos especially, and large pics. Some just don’t want to admit it.
  • Try sending another Android user a video over SMS. "Horrid" would be putting the result lightly.
  • I did, it worked really well, the contact got the link to my photos and videos and all I needed was his phone number.
  • LoL what a bunch of salty liars.
  • This is hilarious. I was in the same boat and tried to convince my friends and family to use FB messenger and did a very good job of it. That’s how my wife and I communicated cross OS’s for the same reasons you’ve mentioned. I found that messenger wasn’t reliable to reach my iPhone friends as the notifications would get lost like the other hundred per day. NOTHING as reliable as iMessage to communicate with the casual iPhone user and I finally caved and got an iPhone XR. Promotion for half price didn’t hurt. I was a “Pixel for life guy” too, so this was a big deal. Not to mention I spent years trying to convince friends to get on a messaging platform with me, arrived at Messenger and love it still. Conclusion, make the switch to iPhone and you will look back at Android and say “ get your ******* act together with messaging and maybe just maybe I’ll give you another chance loser dick. “
  • "Conclusion, make the switch to iPhone and you will look back at Android and say “ get your ******* act together with messaging and maybe just maybe I’ll give you another chance loser dick. “ haha. Yes, this.
  • Doesn't that just show you how bad iOS is with notifications? I had an iPhone 7 just to see what the big deal was about iOS and missing notifications was the WORST PART. Christ, I got yelled at by my boss for not responding to emails. It made me far less productive in multiple ways.
  • "I found that messenger wasn’t reliable to reach my iPhone friends as the notifications would get lost like the other hundred per day." Oh so the problem was the dreadful notification system on iOS.
  • These stories come up on different tech sites every month. It's not going to happen. Apple knows at least 30% of their customers would leave if iMessage was on Android. I own both platforms, but Android is the better platform for my needs and wants. With that being said, I would gladly pay a one-time fee of $19.99 for iMessage on Android. Or, maybe even .99 a month. I wouldn't pay more than that though. I just don't see Apple ever doing this.
  • I'd be in for 99 cents per month. Anything more than that and I'll just stick with what I've got
  • Most of my extended family is on Apple. They love iMessage. My family has been on Android for years and years and I don't want to switch. That said - I've been searching for a single app that would send end-to-end encryption and fall back to sms for those that aren't on it. It also had to be a pretty good app. I've been playing with Signal. Full sms/mms integration with secure communications to those on Signal (sound familar, iMessage?). Open source so it's been vetted and shown to be extremely secure. Contrary to what the article says, it's very simple to use on Android. Apparently, Apple is such a closed system that the SMS fallback doesn't work on iOS forcing them to use 2 apps. Couple of downsides. First group management needs a little work, but it's not bad. Second is video sharing. There are limitations through sms so I've taught my family to use links to google photos to share video. Works great and the resulting video on the other end is excellent quality. The developers are working to make the app better all the time. Try it out for awhile and help show the love. And no - I'm not going to pay a subscription to use iMessage. That's just silly.
  • As I said in a response above, your example didn't solve any problems. People still have to use multiple apps, and the user experience is not seamless. Plus, you're using an entirely different method for sharing videos. You have worked out a great way to get around the issues, but you have not duplicated iMessage at all.
  • You have absolutely duplicated iMessage with Signal. Signal completely replaces the Android text app so you only need the one app. It's seamless and automatic. I can't picture a more perfect solution. If you're referring to iPhone needing multiple apps because Apple won't allow cross platform solutions then that's an Apple problem. Those type of anticompetitive decisions are why I no longer use iPhone.
  • Did you miss where they use an entirely different method outside of Signal for sharing videos? That alone makes it not a replacement. Plus there's no SMS continuity between your phone and other devices.
  • The original poster is referencing a workaround for sharing video via SMS not Signal Messages. The same limitations that exist for sharing video via SMS in Signal exist when sharing video or photos via SMS through iMessage. When sharing video via Signal Message or iMessage message there is no limitation thus links are not necessary. So, the point that it is a fair one to one comparison, at least in this regard, is still valid. The point you make regarding the lack of SMS appearing on your other devices with iMessage and not Signal is a valid one. I do have a question though, I seem to recall that while iMessage is end to end encrypted but Apple holds the encryption key thus making it inherently less secure than Signal. If I am write about this, then it could be considered a trade off which, depending on the importance of locked tight security to you, could bring the 2 messaging platforms back in feature parity.
  • I have converted many a iPhone user to add signal albeit with some resistance. But for the most part it has been well received. On android signal is supreme for me. Remember BBM king of the messengers? They locked themselves into blackberry only and by the time they went cross platform it was too late. Apple might learn a lesson from the other former fruit phone manufacturer.
  • I hope this actually does happen to them. I would laugh
  • I would definitely pay for iMessage. So many of my friends use it and it just works well. I'd love for Apple to take Microsoft's strategy of meeting users where they're at rather than the walled-garden approach. I'd love to get away from using Facebook's products (Messenger and Whatsapp) for something more secure, but don't want to leave Android to do so.
  • I think a better poll might have asked "Would you use iMessage? Yes or No", then "Would you pay a subscription for iMessage? Yes or No" because personally I l think iMessage is great, but I wouldn't pay to use it.
  • Especially with all the user information that is pulled from it.
  • Oh? Do you have a source link? Like maybe www.bs.com?
  • You are grasping straws now. Lol!
  • Here's an idea. Use Skype. It's cross platform, has video chat, and is secure.
  • AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Ugh, that was a good one, my sides hurt. Well done!
  • Not sure what's so amusing. I can use Skype on iOS, Android, PC or Mac. If you open a session with me, it would ring me on any and all devices I'm signed into. It's encrypted, does multiple user calls and supports text/chat, audio and video. I can do Skype handsfree on my Echo devices, or my Invoke. Numerous other capabilities that aren't even part of typical messaging apps. It's just not something most people think about when discussing messaging.
  • I am not sure but I think he was laughing at the notion of Skype being secure. Skype does not use end-to-end encryption. Skype recently introduced "private chats" (kind of like Telegram) which are end-to-end encrypted using the Signal Protocol but is not the default and there is no option to E2E video calls within Skype at all.
  • Oh, you must be laughing because all of your friends aren't using it. You aren't actually judging the products in the features that it provides. How stupid.
  • Once RCS is fully deployed across all carriers, Android Messages will be fine. I loathe the idea of being on anything that makes me have to be stuck to what Apple defines as needed or not in an application or standard.
  • You also loathe security? RCS would be a great alternative if 1) Apple supports it and 2) it allowed end-to-end encryption. Why did I make the first point? Because the premise of the article is making messaging easy across the two major mobile OS's. The second point is a major thing for me right now, and it's becoming more important generally as time goes on.
  • Actually it just goes to E2E but it defaults the same way when sending to a different platform.
  • RCS does not support E2E. At least not the way carriers are implementing it.
  • iMessage is the #1 competitive advantage of Apple products in my opinion. Although I’d love to see it on android devices, it makes absolutely no sense for Apple to do this. I love Android but until somebody can release a true iMessage competitor, I will always have an iPhone in my primary pocket.
  • Ever heard of RCS? Too bad Android is far superior to iOS in every other juncture.
  • I have heard of RCS. Where is implemented that I can use it right now? Oh wait .....
  • Much of that is a carrier issue though, and not a direct Android issue. That's the problem.
  • No one will support an iMessage competitor, because Android users are triggered and become whiny babies the minute an OEM releases innovative tech (on the platform) that is exclusive to their devices. They want all of the benefits of that OEM's R&D on their Pixel, HTC, LG, Samsung, OnePlus, whatever device... but don't want to buy the hardware. They fail to understand that iMessage is used to sell apple Hardware. If you want it, you buy an iPhone. Android users are too dumb to realize this and just "deal with it" when an Android user tries the same thing. Samsung has tried multiple times to "ape" Apple services with its own, but people just call it bloatware (while crying and begging for Apple to release theirs as a subscription). That's why it made little sense for Android OEMs to buy services like WhatsApp and Instagram. What could they do with it, that wasn't already being done? These services offered very little value to them, since they can easily develop their own competitors and integrate directly into the Messages app on their phones! But that doesn't seem to sell devices on Android - in contrast to iOS. There is too much OEM wars and tearing down of the competition in this ecosystem. It's really quite toxic.
  • I would absolutely pay for imessage. I pay for services that I use and make my life better. Of the 15 people I talk to most often, 2 maybe 3, use androids. Only one of those has RCS like me. My Mom / sisters / GF / coworkers / all have iPhones. I refuse because I perfer Android for so many obvious reasons. Even if the Android iMessage didn't have SMS fallback I could deal with that just for HQ photos and group chats. If it did support sms fallback (RCS) that would be most epic. After RCS comes out to all android, even if Apple gets it, maybe then they could make it happen.
  • I'm sorry but... you're messed up in the head if you ever think that iMessage should be a paid SUBSCRIPTION..... I'm sorry.. but why on this screwed up planet, would ANYONE... and I really do mean ANY... ONE..... PAY a SUBSCRIPTION to do something every other service out there does for FREE? Yea sure, end to end encryption.... but is that worth even a single dollar as a subscription to the everyday person? Only the so called 'terrorists' that the government is so freaked out over, would actually want to pay for this.... So no.... we don't need nor want ANY messaging app that you have to pay a subscription for.... EVER.....
  • This iMessage obsession is ridiculous. Love iMessage so much? Buy iPhone!
    If people really care about privacy, they wouldn't use a proprietary software which we can never really know what the app does.
  • Exactly.
    Open source or bust , if you are that into "security".
    **** Apple and Google as well.
    For convenience Android wins and for security Apple. For overall security, users on both sides are losers.
  • No. I just hope Google steps up there game
  • iMessage is the ****. I carry both iOS and Android phones for that very reason.
  • I have Android as my primary and an iPhone 8 from work. iMessage or not, if I could smash this POS iPhone on the ground, light it on fire, and dance around it in celebration - I would in a heartbeat. An utter pile of garbage I actively try to avoid using at all cost. Couldn't care less about iMessage if the rest of the experience makes me want to punch a baby in the mouth. The whole experience is torture to me... Apple would be smart to open up iMessage for Android users, even with a subscription... It would allow people like me to at least consider using something from them. Otherwise, I honestly want nothing to do with Apple. Ever.
  • Overwhelmingly, people I interact with are on Facebook Messenger- in the US and other countries: family, friends, businesses, etc- Bank of America, some remote hotel in the Philippines, even the California Highway Patrol one time. No one mentions privacy concerns. heck no I wouldn't want anything to do with Apple - smug douchebags they are.
  • I use Pulse SMS, and it just works on my phone, tablet, and Chromebook.
  • I use it as well, and with Q coming out they are supposed to make rcs advisor like available to third party apps and pulse said they would support it.
  • Pulse is great! Now THAT is the solution Android needs!
  • My one big problem with Pulse is that they say none of your data is stored unencrypted. Note that they don't say your data isn't stored.
  • Not sure where you read that, but Pulse is completely encrypted, even the stored data. https://messenger.klinkerapps.com/encryption.html
  • I'd probably get rid of my iPhone if FaceTime and iMessage were available on Android, but I don't think a monthly subscription would be popular with most Android users, and it's hard to imagine Apple going that route.
  • What I got out of this was that Messages needs E2E encryption and for the color of those messages to be different.
  • And sending full res photos and video.
  • I guess I'm old and out of touch because I use basic text messaging - and sometimes FB Messenger - for all of this stuff. I get the appeal of end to end encryption, but basic text messaging has worked fine for me.
    Now, get off my lawn.
  • The vast majority of people don't know or don't care. They know green bubbles are annoying, they send awesome pictures and video from any Apple device, and it has lots of cool stuff with it.
    SMS is like comparing an 8 track to a FLAC audio file.
  • I get t that some people in some situations need encryption. But even those people probably don't need it very often. Here is the easy fix. Use RCS for 99% of what you need. Then with the one or two people that you need more security with, jointly agree on a more secure service. This is not complicated.
  • In other words, convince everyone else to change because you don't want to use an iPhone?
  • In other words, tell the 30% that they aren't the majority.
  • The 30% are a lot when your solution is inadequate and they may jump from Android to iOS. This affects more than just your messaging solution. It also affects Android OEMs, App Developers, Service Providers, etc. The mountain of inadequacy in this platform (in multiple areas) makes it a volatile market, and it's why apps, etc. are given a lot more attention on iOS. iOS is a lot more predictable. You know the hardware, software, APIs, SDKs, etc. are going to be top notch... Things just work - really. The hardware on my Note 9 is as good as any iPhone, but the Android platform is the absolute worst thing about this phone, IMHO.
  • Your mistake was getting a phone from Lagsung.
  • LoL, so much bla bla bla
  • Exactly. Why the hell should I change for them? Just to message them I should suffer with retarded iOS?
  • I'd gladly pay a low monthly for iMessage on Android. Personally I think it should be a tiered system, with higher features such as browser based access falling into a higher price structure. What I wouldn't give for a one-stop shop for text/chat that I can use seamlessly regardless of what device I'm currently on (my Android phone, iPad, Mac or PC).
  • This will never happen, and if I were in investor, I would riot if it ever happened. Browser based Access? So that people can iMessage from cheap-as-*** ChromeBooks instead of a $1,000 MacBook Air? It almost feels like you people never learned Math in school. Apple is not a Software and Services company. They are a hardware company. Apple giving iMessage with Resolve is similar to Blackmagic Design giving away DaVinci Resolve for Free or with their Cameras. The software can't do certain things (like full screen playback on a second monitor) without BMD hardware, etc. The whole point is to use the software as a means of selling more hardware. Services like iMessage and software like Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro, iMovie, iWorks, GarageBand, etc. service a similar purpose for Apple. This is why they polish them up so much, and why "just works" is such a high priority benchmark for them... The whole point is for them to be so good that users are willing to ditch Android/Windows/Linux/etc. for iOS/macOS to get access to them... In markets, like the USA, where iOS has high market share… this is very hard to ignore as you're going to know tons of people with Macs and iOS devices. In markets where they have lower market share... it's not as huge a deal, obviously.
  • Really? I've used an iPhone for about 2 month and that was one of the things I hated. It doesn't even show a receipt for regular text messages. I'd have replaced it with Signal if that was allowed... Basically, if Apple pays me to use it, I'll think about it...
  • Apple can't buy my sanity.
  • Besides the encryption, I don't see much difference across apps, iOS or Android. Why do people waste so much time thinking about this? You text someone, then move on with life.
  • There's a major difference. You probably only use a few apps, and/or have far less exposure to the iOS ecosystem. Some of us come from 4+ years of using iOS, and going to Android the same apps are considerably worse... worse enough that I'm jumping right back on their gravy train in a few months... Android has amazing hardware, but the software is lower-class... easily. There are some great Android apps out there, but some of us have needs beyond the basics, and we use our phones as serious tools for work/professional reasons. Dealing with the app gap is harmful beyond simply our preferences or biases.
  • $5 or $10 a month for iMessage subscription? That's the dumbest argument I've seen so far on this site.
  • I will keep using Hangouts with Google Voice until they take it away completely and since I'm a Gsuite user it is coming sooner rather than later :( If only Google had made it the default messaging app from the get go. I just hope that they come up with a smooth transition. Time will tell.
  • Hangouts is still a killer app if you use Google Voice.
    You can still text using your Google Voice number, make calls, send MMS/SMS and do video calls as well. It'll be a shame when it finally goes away.