Is it finally time for RCS to shine? After extensive championing by Google, the world’s top carriers have agreed to replace the aging SMS messaging standard in a joint venture called the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative (CCMI). A new Android app with RCS features (e.g., high-resolution attachments, read receipts, typing indicators) is planned for release next year.

Up until this point, the primary advocate for RCS has been Google, which bet on it as the only platform-level messaging service for Android. It was a bet that carriers haven’t backed until now. Verizon isn’t supporting RCS on the Pixel 4 after doing so on the Pixel 3, for example. Google recently stopped waiting for carriers in the UK and France and rolled out RCS support for Android phones using its own servers.

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