St. Thomas — Texting on Android is one of the most noted pain points for users. After revolutionizing text messages, Apple has managed to maintain a competitive edge on Google’s Android operating system with features like iMessage, Facetime and less restrictive messaging standards.
In the past 90 days, 57 percent of users visiting State of the Territory’s website were using an iOS device — down 6 points during the same period last year. Android users made up 42 percent of that pie. As time passes and user data changes, I’m constantly upgrading and refreshing my site to deliver the best experience on iOS and Android devices.
So this article is really for the Android users, and myself as I dive into cool new features in Android 9 Pie, including new texting standards set to change how we text from Android to Android.
Texting on Android has always been disappointing. RCS, or Rich Communications Services is a Google backed standard set to replace traditional SMS and its many limitations. RCS, would give Android devices the same type of messaging consistency as iOS users, allowing them to send text messages from multiple devices using the phone number assigned by their carrier.
As the standard has evolved, carriers like Sprint, Jibe and T-Mobile have adopted it into a handful of their devices. Android users would get new features like read receipts, typing indicators and a handful of features WhatsApp users have enjoyed for years. WhatsApp’s surprise success, has made messaging platforms extremely important. With over 1 billion monthly active users, WhatsApp has become a more dominant messaging platform than iMessage. With Apple being the first trillion dollar company and the most valuable in the world, that is a huge accomplishment WhatsApp and it parent company Facebook!
RCS would allow Android users on Samsung, LG, Motorola or any other Android device to communicate similar to how iPhone users do — expect me to start leaving a few people on read when this become available to everyone. The feature would also work on any texting app that has adopted the RCS standard.
Even Microsoft — after exiting the mobile phone market — added support for RCS to prepare for the new texting standard. Apple has not confirmed any plans to support the standard, so expect those green bubbles to stick around for a while. 😉
Read receipts, and typing indicators aside there are more features coming down the pipe to give Android a more consistent texting experience. In June, Google began rolling out desktop support for Android Messages, the default messaging app on many Android phones. This allowed users to send and receive text messages in their computer browser.
Texting from my computer has made it simpler for me to respond to friends and clients while working. Instead of grabbing my phone every few seconds, I can simply reply from the device I spend most of my time on.
While writing this article, I’ve responded to maybe thirty text messages with my phone sitting in the next room. Messages send pretty quickly but that’s completely dependent on your data speeds from your mobile or WiFi network. Imagine that you forgot your phone in a friend’s car or at a friend’s place and didn’t memorize their number to call them, you could hop on your computer and send a text message letting them know that you need your phone back.
RCS was initially released in 2012 and is supported by Android and the Windows 8 OS. The standard can be implemented on any device with the ability to send text messages, but requires phone manufactures and carriers to support it — including future updates.
This kind of partnership has made the adoption of RCS slow and painful. I’ll make a bold prediction and say that many of these features will hit a fraction of Android devices by the fall of 2019.
- Microsoft Edge
The new desktop client has helped me juice out just a bit more productive minutes in my day. Maybe one day I can write articles without constantly needing to respond to WhatsApp notifications and text messages. To begin sending text messages from your desktop or laptop, read this article by The Verge.
If all goes well, I’ll be writing a detailed story on a business launch event I attended in Miami last weekend with a few Virgin Islanders. I was one of three guest speakers and have some exciting freebies and information to share with you all about what happened at this particular event. Keep an eye out!
Featured image courtesy of TechCrunch.