Smartphone startup Nothing is trying to stand out by bringing iMessage to its Android devices. 

The startup says its “Nothing Chats” app will bring blue bubbles from Apple’s iMessage service to Android phones. It will roll out first to owners of the Nothing (2) phone on Nov. 17 through the Google Play store.

Nothing CEO Carl Pel said the chat app is designed to break down the iMessage barrier that has long separated iPhone users from Android. “We understand that the blue bubble vs. green bubble dilemma, especially in North America—although seemingly ridiculous—is real,” he says.

Users will likely wonder, what’s the catch? Internally, Apple views iMessage as an exclusive feature for its own devices that’s caused users to stick to the iOS ecosystem over Android.  The company has also refused to adopt RCS messaging, despite repeated trolling from Google.

However, Nothing has found a workaround through a company called Sunbird Messaging, which developed its own chat app, currently in beta, to enable iMessage on Android. Sunbird hasn’t divulged how the technology works. But according to Fast Company, it’s using its own cluster of Mac computers to “sign in users and relay their messages” back to Android phones. 

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The obvious issue is that users have to trust that Sunbird won’t hijack their sign-ins to peek at their messages. However, Sunbird CEO Danny Mizrahi tells Fast Company that the company isn’t merely “assigning one Mac desktop to each user.” Sunbird also claims that all the messages remain end-to-end encrypted, and that no user data is stored, although how this is being achieved remains unclear.

The resulting system will no doubt raise some privacy concerns. But in the meantime, Nothing views the Sunbird partnership as a way to level the playing field with Apple. “The more companies lock things in, the harder it is for us to compete,” Pei said in a video announcing Nothing Chats, which will also support group chats.

Fully Mobilized newsletter to get our top mobile tech stories delivered right to your inbox.”,”first_published_at”:”2021-09-30T21:18:21.000000Z”,”published_at”:”2022-09-27T15:45:43.000000Z”,”last_published_at”:”2022-09-27T15:45:27.000000Z”,”created_at”:null,”updated_at”:”2022-09-27T15:45:43.000000Z”})”>

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