During its Unpacked event on January 14, Samsung took the time to highlight a new partnership with Google that will make it appear that some of the search giant’s software technologies are gaining prominence in Samsung’s newest phones.
Samsung briefly brought in Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s senior vice president of Android, Chrome, Chrome OS and Play, to discuss the partnership.
First, Lockheimer discussed a deeper integration of Google Duo and Message in Samsung’s S21 line. It appears that Messages will be “native” on the S21 series, but it will not be the default. In addition to including Google Messages on the S21 line, Lockheimer also detailed a new ‘TalkBack’ screen reader experience that would launch first on the S21 line.
Dieter Bohn, Executive Editor of The edge, noted in a tweet that the fine print displayed during the Lockheimer segment indicates that the Google posts will be native to the S21 series.
Google Messages “went native to the S21 series” but I was told that Samsung Messages is still the default. Which means there will be TWO texting apps on the S21, and knowing which one is RCS compliant will be… confusing.
GREAT JOB FOR EVERYONE !! pic.twitter.com/jtTcLjZj8K
– Dieter Bohn (@backlon) January 14, 2021
However, Bohn says he was told that Samsung Messages will remain the default app on the S21 line. In other words, there will be two messaging applications, both compatible with Rich Communication Services (RCS) but with slightly different feature sets and different carrier support.
For example, Google Messages supports encrypted one-to-one chats, but only for those sent and received by devices with the Google Messages app.
RCS support remains a confusing mess in Canada
The fine print for the Unpacked event also notes that Google Messages availability and features may differ by country, region, or carrier. While Google has mostly bypassed carriers when implementing chat features (which use the RCS protocol) in its Messages app, availability still seems to be somewhat dependent on carriers in Canada.
For example, Bell’s website officially lists support for RCS (the carrier calls it advanced messaging) on a variety of Samsung devices, but not on Pixels or other Android devices. MobileSyrup You have received some reports from Bell users accessing RCS features on non-Samsung devices and reports that RCS does not work on these devices. MobileSyrup Senior reporter Dean Daley has confirmed that RCS works on Samsung and Google devices while on the Bell network.
As for Rogers and Telus, both operators list broader support for RCS features on their website. Generally, the Big Three flanker brands have RCS support similar to that of the major brands (i.e. Fido supports the same devices as Rogers). Freedom is also RCS compliant with Google Messages.
In short, the whole situation is unnecessarily complex. If the S21 line is sent to Canadians with multiple messaging apps, it will only make things more confusing.