Messenger has been a part of Google’s messy messaging approach since 2014. Today, it received a brand new name: Android Messages. Google didn’t give much explanation about the name change, but there is more going on than you might think.
- A new name! Messenger is now Android Messages, the messaging app built for Android
- Bug fixes and stability improvements
- Simpler sign-up for enhanced features on supported carriers
Underneath the surface, this change is about RCS. The Head of RCS at Google spoke to The Verge about the app. He said the app will be an industry effort with carriers to support RCS. Since the app is in the Play Store, Google will be able to easily control updates. A handful of manufacturers have agreed to use Android Messages as the default messaging app.
LG, Motorola, Sony, HTC, ZTE, Micromax, Nokia, Archos, BQ, Cherry Mobile, Condor, Fly, General Mobile, Lanix, LeEco, Lava, Kyocera, MyPhone, QMobile, Symphony and Wiko, along with Pixel and Android One devices.
You might notice one pretty big omission from the list: Samsung. Also, the major U.S. carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon) are not on board yet. When you send an RCS to people on those networks it will default to the old SMS. It will take time for everyone to be on the same page with RCS, but this is a good start.