Apple has made it clear that they have no plans to bring iMessage to Android. They know it keeps their users on the platform, and Android users are clearly fine with the green bubble bullying that results in a broken messaging experience that iPhone users complain about when talking to someone without a phone like theirs.
Since there may be no official iMessage app or service on Android, the messaging industry has taken several stabs at creating an unofficial iMessage client. Mostly weird implementations, including one that required you to buy an old iPhone and then set it up as a make-shift server to relay the iMessage experience to your Android phone. Yes, it was as bad as it sounds.
From a company called Next Effort Sunbird And they believe they have the real experience you want.
Sunbird has created an all-in-one messaging client that is “the first and only full-featured iMessage for Android app.” Let me try and explain what that means.
According to Sunbird, this means that you only need an Android phone and about 60 seconds to set up iMessage on your Android phone. There is no need for a personal server or Apple device or desktop software. Again, this is the opposite of the weird wrong-server concepts we’ve seen in the past.
This means you get fully encrypted messages, Internet messaging, full-quality media, group chats, feedback and tap back, live-typing indicators and read receipts. Perhaps most importantly, this means your messages (from your Android phone) will appear as blue bubbles on an iPhone.
Sunbird does more than just iMessage, though. It will also serve as your text message app, plus it can connect to WhatsApp (including group messaging) and Facebook Messenger. Plans to add Telegram, RCS, Signal, Line, Slack, Discord and Instagram down the road. Again, this is an all-in-one messaging service.
Really like to hear and know what the catch is? At this time, Sunbird is not releasing a catch. They are telling people the right things to sign up for a beta list to test the app
For example, they claim that Sunbird “does not store user data”, by which it refers to login credentials and messages you send. Other such services use relay services or require you to store your credentials to work properly, but Sunbird says they do none of that. In fact, during a briefing with them, they repeatedly indicated that they tried to make it so that no data was stored.
It’s not open source, because they’ve developed some kind of solution that they want to keep locked up. They believe they have solved any past problems that made iMessage on Android not possible.
What about the cost? It’s been a subscription model, right? Apparently not yet. Sunbird told us the service will be free and if they want to monetize later they can, but for now they just want to use it. It’s a bit of a red flag for me. There’s nothing better than creating a service you know people will love, telling them it’s free, and then flipping the credit card machine when they’re well committed.
And that’s all I’ve got for now. This sounds like the best iMessage for Android idea so far, but I haven’t tested it and don’t know when I will. At this time, Sunbird is asking the world to sign-up to test Sunbird in a closed beta. They’ll throw out invites before they open it at some point (or until they sell the technology, because how are they going to make money?).
If this interests you, you can sign up on the Sunbird site.