Let us start with numbers. Apple’s iPhone commands almost 50% of smartphone users in the US, which is a significantly huge market share for just one company in the sector. If that wasn’t enough, a whopping 87% of teenagers in the country use an iPhone.
This also means the tech giant’s iMessage and its blue bubble reign supreme. Apple being Apple, is not willing to open up its proprietary chat platform to Android despite several attempts by Google to make it happen. iMessage assigns a green chat bubble to messages sent from Android phones, which has caused a social stigma among Americans.
Many Android users feel second fiddle and there was ‘Nothing’ they could do about the situation. Until now.
Nothing Phone 2 is Getting iMessage Through the Nothing Chats App
Nothing, the British tech startup founded by Carl Pei – the co-founder of OnePlus, announced that its users will soon be able to send messages in blue bubbles. The company is set to launch a new messaging app called ‘Nothing Chats’ that supports both RCS and iMessage. Nothing has partnered with messaging platform Sunbird to make iMessages a reality on Android.
Sunbird is a unified messaging app for Android that has been available in beta since the end of last year. The app allows users to access messages across multiple platforms, including iMessage, from a single interface. Sunbird supports SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, RCS, Signal, Line, Discord, Instagram DMs, and iMessage.
Carl Pei said Nothing understands that the “blue bubble vs green bubble” dilemma, especially in North America, is, in fact, a real thing. While calling it a “ridiculous” debate, the CEO said that Nothing Chats allows for freedom of communication between anyone “regardless of their brand of the smartphone”.
While sharing the news on social media, Nothing wrote that it was releasing Nothing Chats because “messaging services are dividing phone users” and it wants to break those barriers down.
Typing Indicator, High-res Media Sharing, and Read Receipts are Coming to Nothing Chats
Nothing Chats, scheduled to be released on Friday, November 17, will be supported on the company’s flagship smartphone, the Nothing Phone 2. The app promises to offer support for many of iMessage’s signature features like live typing indicators, high-resolution media sharing, group chats, voice notes, and single messaging. Read receipts and Tapback reactions will be available in later versions of Chats.
Tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee, MKBHD, shared a preview of the chat app with his followers. Brownlee confirmed with Nothing that Chats will function similarly to other iMessage-to-Android bridge services on the Sunbird architecture that delivers messages from one user to another without ever storing data “at any point in its journey”.
Users must Log In to their Apple ID on Sunbird Before Using iMessage on Nothing Chats
In an email to The Verge, Nothing’s US head of public relations, Jane Nho, wrote that Sunbird stores Chat users’ iCloud credentials in an “encrypted database” that employs server farms of Mac Minis in the US and EU.
Depending on the user’s location, the Mac Mini associated with their account acts as a relay for messages sent via Nothing Chats. She added that Sunbird’s patented technology routes iMessages through to Apple.
Before accessing iMessage on Nothing Chats, the user must sign into their existing Apple ID or create a new one through Sunbird. On the privacy and security front, Nothing assured customers that Sunbird would delete a user’s information from its database after two weeks of inactivity.
Anyways, Nothing Phone users who decide to use Chats to access iMessage will essentially be handing over their Apple ID to a company that isn’t Apple. This is a big red flag when it comes to user privacy.
When asked about the possibility of Apple taking legal action against Nothing for the matter, Pei told MKBHD that the tech giant would probably “do nothing”. There is an interesting dialogue happening surrounding iMessage, with regulators in the European Union discussing whether the app should be designated a “core platform service” for Apple or opened up for other developers.
Apple is yet to comment on the matter.
Sunbird CEO Danny Mizrahi said that “for the next few months”, the only way to access its all-in-one messaging solution will be through a Nothing Phone 2. Currently, the Sunbird app has a waiting list of about a million users.
Nothing Chats will be available to download from the Google Play Store starting November 17. The app will be exclusive to Nothing Phone 2 users, with regional availability limited to the US, Canada, UK, and EU.
Do you think Nothing’s efforts are going change the course of the “blue bubble vs green bubble” debate?