Android Messages Drops KitKat Support in Latest Update

Android Messages

Version 3.0 of Android Messages, Google’s SMS app, has started rolling out in the Google Play Store today.  While it doesn’t sport a lot of changes, mostly bug fixes and performance improvements, it does drop support for Android KitKat.

KitKat was released back in October 2013 so dropping support for the now 4 year and a bit year old version is not entirely shocking and it fits with Google upping the minimum supported API level in other apps.  Frankly, at this point nobody should be using KitKat purely from a security perspective.

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Teardown Suggests that Android Messages to Get a Web Interface

Android Messages

There is a new update for the Android Messages app for Android rolling out in the Play Store today.  Frankly there isn’t anything very interesting about the update from a user perspective but what is in the code is quite interesting.  It appears that there is code now in the app that would allow for a Allo-like web experience for Messages.  This could allow for sending and receiving of text messages from your desktop.

The code was discovered by the team over at Android Police in a tear down of the new version of the app.  It appears that, like Allo, you will scan a QR code to sync your computer with your phone and be able to send and receive messages on both.  This feature isn’t something new.  Google Hangouts still has this feature if you are a Project Fi user and use Hangouts as your SMS app (SMS in Hangouts isn’t supported anymore outside of Fi).  Instead, it would be a return of a feature and that is a great thing.

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Project Fi Subscribers Getting Smart Replies in Android Messages

Android Messages

Subscribers of Project Fi have a new feature coming to the Android Messages app for SMS and MMS.  Smart Replies is something that has been in Google Allo and Google Inbox for some time now and the feature is now rolling out to Fi subscribers.

Like Allo and Inbox, when a text message comes into your Android Messages app, you will see options for replies in three small bubbles just above the text box where you type your replies.  Backed by Google’s AI, smart replies understands the context of the message you were sent and offers quick, one tap replies to those messages.

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Huawei to Integrate Android Messages into Upcoming Devices

Android Messages

Late yesterday, Google and Huawei both announced an agreement where by the Chinese manufacture will start integrating the RCS-powered Android Messages app into their upcoming devices.  The move means that Huawei will abandon their current messaging app in favor of Google’s for a richer user experience.

With Android Messages and RCS messaging, HUAWEI devices will offer a rich native messaging and communications experience. Features such as texting over WiFi, rich media sharing, group chats, and typing indicators will now be a default part of the device. Messages from businesses will also be upgraded on HUAWEI’s devices through RCS business messaging from Google.

Huawei also announced that they will be integrating with Google Duo for video calls directly from Messages via carrier’s ViLTE services.

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Google and Carriers Expand RCS Messaging to Latin America

Android Messages

Google, through various partnerships in Latin America, has announced that RCS Messaging will be rolling out to various carriers in the region over the coming months.

Today we’re excited to announce that we’re working with leading carriers América MóvilAT&T in MéxicoOi and Telefónica to bring RCS messaging to people across Latin America. In collaboration with these carriers, we’ll roll out RCS messaging in the countries where they operate over time, bringing better messaging to more than two thirds of all mobile subscribers in Latin America.

The news means that subscribers to these carriers will be able to communicate in a more rich way than plain SMS, offering the ability to send GIFs and other rich media as well as have group messaging across international borders.

For those who are not familiar, RCS Messaging is Rich Communication Services and has been rolling out here in the United States and Europe for a while now.  It offers a more “smartphone” experience over SMS as Google likes to say.

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Android Messages Latest Update Breaking Notifications for Some

Android Messages

After an update rolled out to the app late last week, several users are reporting that notifications in Android Messages is no longer working.  The update in question is version 2.5.207 users are reporting that the SMS/MMS app simply stops giving notifications and there is no way to enable them again.  Indeed, the app will indicate that notifications are enabled but none are given to users.

The problem appears to be widespread.  Multiple reviews within the Google Play Store indicate that notifications have quit working across multiple devices and Android flavors.

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Android Messages Update Improves Group Messaging

Android Messages

Google has begun rolling out an update to their text messaging client, Android Messages.  The update, version 2.2 for those keeping score at home, has a few minor UI tweaks but the big news is around group messaging.  With this new update, when you are in a conversation with someone via SMS, you can add another person quickly and easily to the conversation.  To do this, while you are in a conversation, go to the overflow menu (the three vertical dots) then tap on People & Options.  At the bottom of this page there is a button which you can tap to open up your contacts and add them to the conversation.  This is a big improvement over the previous build which essentially required you to start an entirely new conversation for group messaging.

This update also has added the ability to create a group message from the FAB (Floating Action Button) from which you can add your contacts to the conversation.  Both of these improvements lower the number of taps required to start a group MMS.

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