Nothing’s Chat App Attempts to Mimic iMessage Features on Android

In the US, iMessage stands as a formidable barrier that Android manufacturers struggle to penetrate. Recent studies indicate that 8 out of 10 teenagers favor and utilize iOS over Android, posing a risk to Android devices and raising uncertainties about their future in the US market. Despite various apps aiming to bridge the gap between Blue and Green Bubbles, Nothing has emerged as one of the pioneering manufacturers aiming to facilitate smoother messaging. Their partnership with Sunbird aims to achieve iMessage compatibility with Nothing Chats on the Nothing Phone (2).

The Nothing Chat app utilizes Sunbird’s framework and a front-end designed by Nothing. Currently, it offers the following features within iMessage:

  • Messaging
  • Group Chats
  • Live typing indicators
  • Full-res media sharing
  • Voice notes

Features like read receipts, message reactions, and replies are expected to arrive soon. Additionally, the Chats app includes built-in RCS support. Currently, it’s exclusively accessible on the Nothing Phone (2) and limited to the US, Europe, Canada, and the UK.

Understanding the Functionality of iMessage on Nothing Chat

The setup process for the Nothing Chat app involves signing in with both your Nothing and Apple accounts. This connection routes your Apple account through a Mac located worldwide, based on your geographical location. All texts sent or received traverse from your phone to the Mac and then to the recipient, establishing a bidirectional communication flow.

Sunbird asserts that the messages are end-to-end encrypted, ensuring that no one, not even Sunbird, can access your messages. According to a Nothing spokesperson’s statement to Android Authority:

"When you first log in to the Chats app using your existing Apple ID or by creating a new one, your credentials are tokenized and stored within an encrypted database." These credentials are linked to one of Sunbird's Mac Minis located in North America or Europe, determined by your location. This process creates an encrypted relay through which iMessages are transmitted via the app. Once the relay is established, it is secured and inaccessible to Sunbird or any other entity, even if they gained access to the physical server. Sunbird's sole capability concerning the relay is deletion."

In the video posted on the official YouTube channel titled “We made iMessage for Android,” Carl Pei, CEO of Nothing, mentioned, “No data is stored on the platform; everything remains local on your device. This ensures new users need not worry about privacy.

While this initiative by Nothing is appreciated, there remains skepticism concerning the process involving the submission of Apple ID credentials to a third party.

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