Short Message Service (SMS) has been around for about a decade now. The have been very little development on SMS as we know it to make it improve the user experience. Well, other than things like the ability to type in small caps, and ability to insert some few symbols, but the developments have been dismal.
On the other hand, there have been numerous messaging platforms entering the market that give users a richer experience. From the ability to send and receive high-resolution pictures, videos, sound, group chats, message delivery report among other features. It is for these reasons that the SMS has been overtaken and blown out of the water with virtually all the new messaging apps; the best of example being WhatsApp, owned by Facebook.
Google in partnership with a list of carriers and OEMs wants to replace the SMS with Rich Communications Services (RCS). The global consortium of 800 carriers that make up the GSMA announced that they will be adopting the RCS being developed by Google named Jibe.
An RCS client on Android is expected to have features like sharing high-res pictures, group chats and read receipts. There are also plans to integrate video calling on the RCS client. It will also support lower-tiers standards like MMS and SMS. The GSMA has also been pushing for the transition from SM to RCS for over a decade now, but it has moved at a snail-slow pace that it has a lot of catching up to do with the other apps and devices.
iPhone users will not be affected with the RCS roll out, as already Apple has its own iMessage platform that does not use RCS. The client will only be rolled out to Android devices, a market that makes up 80% of the world’s smartphones market. The client will also enable the user to send and receive messages across countries and carriers. GSMA is hoping now that Google is also backing the RCS idea; its implementation will be fast tracked. Google might be doing it for selfish reasons; to unseat WhatsApp, owned by its arch rival Facebook.