Google is launching Chat, a new text messaging system for its Android platform to challenge Apple's iMessage in smartphone.
Chat supports sending and receiving of high-definition images and videos, group texts and reading receipts. Chat is taking advantage of Rich Communication Services, which are designed to supplant the now 20-plus-year old SMS. Chat will not support end-to-end encryption, leaving the messages less secure than its competitors.
Chat, which will be rolled into Android Messages in the near future, will be available to all worldwide cellular carriers that provide Android phones. But because Chat's implementation will be carrier-based, some likely will debut later than others.
In the United States, Sprint phones already support Chat between compatible Android devices and T-Mobile plans to roll out Chat in the second quarter of this year, according to a repoprt from The Verge. It is unclear when Verizon and AT&T will make the switch.
Google has been trying to develop a messaging system that would reach hundreds of millions of people on its platform. But products like Google Talk, Google Hangouts and Google Messenger launched to mixed results.
Meanwhile, Apple's iMessage soared soon after its release in 2011, and is said to be a very popular messaging service for teenagers in the United States.