iMessage is one of the toughest barriers in the US that Android OEMs find difficult to break through. A recent survey shows that 8 in 10 teens prefer and use iOS over Android, putting Android devices at risk and calling into question the future of Android in the US market. Although many apps have emerged to improve the Blue and green bubbles gapNothing is one of the first manufacturers to step in to make messaging seamless. The company is working with Sunbird to make iMessage compatible with Nothing Chats on the Nothing Phone (2).
The Nothing Chat app uses the Sunbird framework, a front end designed by Nothing, and currently offers the following features in iMessage:
- To inform
- Group chats
- Live typing indicators
- Share media in full resolution
- Voice notes
Features like read receipts, message responses, and replies are coming soon. The Chats app also has RCS support built in. The app is currently only available on Nothing Phone (2) and in the US, Europe, Canada and the UK.
How does iMessage work on Nothing Chat?
The way the Nothing Chat app works is that during installation it asks you to sign in via your Nothing and Apple accounts. Right now, your Apple account is running on a Mac somewhere in the world, depending on your location. When you send or receive text messages, they are forwarded from your phone to the Mac to the recipient, and vice versa.
Sunbird claims that the messages are end-to-end encrypted and no one, including Sunbird, can access your messages. A spokesperson for Niets said this Android Authority rather that:
“Once you log in to the Chats app for the first time with your existing Apple ID or create a new one, your credentials will be tokenized into an encrypted database and linked to one of Sunbird’s North American or Europe-based Mac Minis (depending on from where you are), which creates an encrypted relay for iMessages sent through the app. Once the relay is created, it is locked and cannot be opened by Sunbird or anyone else, even if they had access to the physical server itself. The only action Sunbird can take with the relay is to remove it.”
The above statement still contradicts what Carl Pei, the CEO of Nothing, said in the video on the official YouTube channel titled “We made iMessage for Android.” Carl says in the video “No data is stored on the platform. It’s all local to your device, so new users don’t have to worry about privacy.”
While this is a welcome initiative from Nothing, we’re still skeptical about the part that involves handing over Apple ID credentials to a third party.