After the announcement leaked on Reddit, Verizon has confirmed it’ll begin rolling out RCS Chat support to the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL this week, starting December 6th. While it’s nice to finally see the new texting standard reach consumer devices, we probably won’t see it hit any other phones until early 2019.
In case you’re unfamiliar, RCS is the new messaging standard that will replace SMS which has been on its way out for years following the rise and domination of third-party messaging apps. To keep standard texting alive, RCS will be able to send high-resolution images and videos, larger text messages in general, and support larger attachments without having to go through a cloud storage service. You’ll also get read receipts, typing indicators, larger group chats, and the ability to talk to someone over Wi-Fi.
Google’s been very vocal about its support for RCS. The company recently updated its Android Messages app with support for “Chat” (RCS but with a more attractive name) and plans to push the technology going forward. We’ve seen Google try other messaging platforms in the past, but some have ultimately failed or have been confirmed to shut down in the near future. Consider RCS is a universal standard, however, it’s likely it’ll gain much more traction than a typical competing third-party solution.
According to Verizon, in order to take full advantage of RCS messaging, you and the person you contact will both have to have Chat enabled. Otherwise, it’ll resort back to SMS. Big Red says it’ll also be using the universal profile instead of a proprietary profile like carriers have done in the past. Speaking of which, those profiles should update in the future to support the universal profile for a more streamlined messaging experience across devices.