SVP of Android offers open invitation to help Apple put RCS texting on the iPhone

Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google's vice president for product management, called on Apple to support RCS. This next-generation standard is supposed to replace SMS. He invited all those who could make it right to join him and said that we were here to help.
RCS is finally gaining traction all over the globe. Google is the biggest advocate for RCS, having tried every alternative solution and finally choosing to use it as their default texting solution on Android phones. Although RCS is not perfect, it is clearly better than SMS (which, of course is a low bar). After getting commitments from US carriers, Google now has a new target: Apple.

Apple has not responded to The Verge's inquiry over many years about whether it plans to support RCS on iPhones. It is unlikely that RCS will be coming to iOS any time soon.

Group chats do not have to be this way. There is a really clear solution. We are open to all who can help make this right. Hiroshi Lockheimer (@lockheimer) October 7, 2021

Lockheimers tweet was part of a funny chain of tweets about Bryson DeChambeau, a pro golfer who broke iMessage group chats using his green bubbles. This led to the official Android account drawing a parallel between green Bubbles and the Masters green jacket. Lockheimer jokes there is a Really Clear Solution to group chats not breaking.

RCS has been a long and complicated journey to become the default Android texting app. Google started negotiating deals with US carriers in March 2021 to make Google's Android Messages app the default for all Android phones on their networks. T-Mobile was the first to sign a major deal, then Verizon and AT&T followed by smaller deals. After all the deals have been implemented, Android users will switch to RCS. This allows them to text one another with typing indicators, group chats that are more productive, and larger multimedia messages.

Importantly, RCS for Android Messages supports end-to–end encryption for one on-one chats. This will allow Android users to text each other with a greater level of privacy and security that when they text iPhone users, and vice versa. The latest example of encryption in messaging, especially for default, is the recent Syniverse hack.

RCS is not without its problems. It is possible for messages to become lost or in limbo while switching phones, just like with iMessage. It is also a standard that Google champions, but which is theoretically accepted by all carriers. Many believe that RCS has been tainted by Google's association. It is also a requirement for carriers to agree on any issue. Ron Amadeo also explains the technical limitations.

It seems certain that RCS will eventually replace SMS, but only if Apple supports it. Apple may feel sufficient pressure to adopt RCS as more carriers adopt it, and more users realize SMS is less secure. However, so far it has not shown any sign of this.