Phonemaker Nothing has devised a solution for one of the biggest frustrations experienced between Android and iOS users in North America — the lack of interoperability between Apple’s iMessage and RCS.
This manifests in the iPhone Messages app as green bubbles and blue bubbles. Blue means you’re talking to another iMessage user, while green means you’re speaking to someone outside Apple’s walled garden and have been downgraded to regular SMS messages.
SMS does not support advanced instant messaging features like read receipts, emoji reactions, and typing indicators.
A replacement standard for SMS called Rich Communication Services (RCS) does support these new features. However, iPhone Messages does not support RCS, and Android can’t support iMessage because Apple has not opened up the standard.
Nothing Chats is a messaging app that supports iMessage and Rich Communication Services (RCS), a replacement for SMS endorsed by Google.
“We believe in windows, not walls. If messaging services are dividing phone users, then we want to break those barriers down,” said Nothing.
Nothing Chats is built on Sunbird — a unified messaging platform that has been in closed beta since late 2022. Sunbird lets users access all their chats, including iMessage, through a single interface.
Nothing Chats ships out-of-the-box with support for several iMessage features, including high-resolution media sharing, group messaging, and typing indicators.
The company notes that read receipts and Tabpack reactions will be added to the platform in the future.
“We understand that the blue bubble vs. green bubble dilemma, especially in North America — although seemingly ridiculous — is real,” said Carl Pei, Nothing CEO.
“Nothing Chats allows for freedom of communication between anyone regardless of their brand of smartphone — which is how it should be.”
Nothing Chats is only available to Nothing Phone 2 users in the US, Canada, UK, and EU.
While Pei specifies that no data is saved to the platform, there are still privacy concerns.
Sunbird leverages a workaround that Apple doesn’t officially support. However, Sunbird says its “patented” process for bringing iMessage to Android involves server farms of Mac Minis that route a user’s messages to Apple.