Explained: What is RCS and how it completely changed SMS text messaging

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Rich Communication Service or RCS was hailed as the next big thing after the advent of SMS. Most of us are associated with SMS since the first time we had a mobile phone (smartphone or not). It has been the stable option for most official communication. However, things needed to change. The smartphone had the ability to do more than just share text. Hence, carriers, network providers and smartphone makers came together to launch RCS messaging. Google is leading the transition and has also introduced it to most carriers, devices across the world.

But what is RCS?

Simply put, RCS is the next step in the evolution of SMS. It comes with a lot of features that you would often expect from popular instant messaging applications such as WhatsApp. With RCS enabled, you can share high-resolution photos and large files, chat with groups, read messages or make video calls.

Another big reason for users to switch to RCS is security. With RCS, messages are encrypted end-to-end in a way similar to WhatsApp. This technology is much better than SMS.

How do users get RCS on their devices?

While RCS is available with many smartphones and applications, the easiest way to access it is through Google’s own messaging application. Currently only Android devices are using RCS, but availability also depends on the carrier and smartphone manufacturer.

To check if RCS is available on your Android device, simply download Google’s messaging app and go to ‘General’ in Settings and then to ‘Chat Features’. There you can simply hit ‘Enable Chat Features’ to access RCS technology. There are also options to turn specific features on or off.

Why is Apple not showing interest in RCS?

Recently, some top Google and Android executives called out Apple for ‘bullying’ the messaging ecosystem. RCS itself has gone through many hurdles to make it the messaging default. Given that there were multiple stakeholders in the process from different countries, it took longer than expected for RCS to default. Still users are not aware of the new technology.

Apple is making things more difficult right now as the company is already offering a messaging service called iMessage, which offers the same features as Android after the RCS update.

Apple focuses on keeping its customers connected to its ecosystem. In this case the introduction of RCS messaging can be counterproductive. If Apple ever decides to adopt the technology, they can still ensure that iOS users benefit in some way or the other.

Explained post: What is RCS and how it replaces SMS text messaging This first appeared on BGR India.

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