SMS, the current standard we use for texting, is on its way out the door. RCS has been in the works for years now as its official replacement, and lately, a lot of puzzle pieces have been coming together to make this a reality. Most recently, Verizon confirmed that it'll finally support RCS in "early 2019."
This was announced by Verizon's Senior Vice President of Consumer Products at a GSMA event on November 15, and while Verizon does currently offer its own proprietary version of RCS, the change in 2019 will likely see it shift to the Universal Profile being pushed by Google that works across multiple carriers and OEMs.
It hasn't actually been confirmed by Verizon that it's supporting the Universal Profile, but GSMA told The Verge that it will, in fact, support Universal Profile 1.0. Verizon also didn't get any more specific aside from "early 2019" for its release, but according to a report form Fierce Wireless, we could see the change come as early as February.
When this conversion does happen, one of the biggest user-facing benefits will be support for Google's Chat platform that was announced in April. Chat is an evolution of the Android Messages app and will allow for typing indicators, read receipts, high-quality photos, and better group chat support. It's essentially Google's take on iMessage that should work on just about every Android phone.
We're likely still a ways out before we see the effects of this in the real world, but Verizon's new commitment to RCS is a huge step forward for the standard.
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