Last week we announced that Nothing had managed to make its smartphones compatible with iPhone iMessage messaging. A new Nothing Chat application developed for the Phone(2) through an exclusive partnership with Sunbird Messaging, was about to be launched in the United States.
The latter should not only ensure that all messages sent from an Android smartphone to an iPhone appear in the form of a blue bubble – as if they had come from an iPhone. But as a bonus it allows Android users to use virtually all iMessage features on the Nothing Phone(2).
Instead of a great app compatible with iMessage, the risk is to have Nothing
In detail, Apple categorically refuses to allow brands in the Android ecosystem to use iMessage – which immediately raised real questions about the viability of the solution proposed by Nothing. Especially since the technical details (in other words how Nothing and Sunbird really manage to pass themselves off as iPhones) remain a thick mystery.
Quite quickly, Nothing managed to put the first beta of the famous Nothing Chat app online with this new compatibility on the Google Play Store. But it didn’t take long for Google to remove the application from its servers. Google, however, has a strong reason to oppose this application: the partnership with Sunbird, and the dangers that this poses for the privacy of users.
Indeed, an iCloud account (and giving full access to Sunbird) remains necessary to communicate with iPhones under the same terms. Furthermore, using the service completely breaks down end-to-end encryption – and Sunbird would be able to read all messages passing through its servers. All of this is against the Google Play Store terms of service and poses a real risk to user security.
Nothing could probably choose to launch its application anyway in the form of a simple APK file. But this option does not seem to be on the table for the moment. Instead, the firm explains that the launch of Nothing Chat is postponed indefinitely; time, according to the firm to “correct a few bugs” of which no details or timetable have been (for the moment?) specified.
This initiative is not the first to fail in aiming to build bridges between the RCS messaging of Android smartphones and the iMessage system of iPhones. There was therefore reason to suspect, in the absence of express authorization from Apple, that the compatibility of the Nothing Phone(2) with iMessage would not work for very long.
Let us add that things are evolving a little on Apple’s side on this issue. If there is still no question of making the Android bubbles blue on iPhones, the firm announces that, from next year, several features of RCS and iMessage will become compatible with each other. This covers for example the sharing of images, videos, group conversations and reactions among others.