For years the thoughts and rumours of iMessage on Android has been floating around. Depending on who you are listening to you get every response from “never going to happen” to “Apple need to do it”. I have often been dismissive of this ever happening, but more recently I think it could work and really should be something that Apple work on.
One of the arguments given is the fact that Apple already provide an Apple Music app on Android. Although this may be a left relic of Beats Music, it gives more of a reason for families to sign up for Apple Music, and even of they don’t want their kids using expensive iPhones, they can still stream music on any handset they are given. More family plans sold means more revenue for the services group and more growth to report to Wall Street.
One of the huge arguments against is the fact that iMessage is often the glue that keeps people returning to iPhone when it’s time to upgrade their phone. They don’t want to leave the group chats and become a green bubble. If iMessage were provided on Android, users may be less likely the buy the new iPhone and more likely to switch to Android. Less sales of iPhones means less income for Apple.
Let’s take both of those arguments and consider the following. Apple provides iMessage on Android, a way for users of Android to message each other and iPhone users, end-to-end encrypted. It over night provides one of the best messaging platforms that can be used universally and freely to anyone.
During the last few updates to iOS, Apple have been turning iMessage into a sudo social network. A place for people to send stickers, play games, send money to each other – and in iOS12 jump into a group FaceTime call in a few taps. Apple should provide a stripped down version of iMessage on Android, a kin to the version on Mac, and let the extra features sell themselves. I believe the ability to join in with a group chat but not all of the Animoji fun and FaceTime calls would actually push more users to adopt an iPhone next time they are upgrading.
Android users would be included in the group chats and messages that iPhone users are, but not all the extras. Users are free to use whatever platform they choose, so don’t feel excluded but still don’t receive the full experience. How many group chats are taking place on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger simply because not everyone uses an iPhone? Could the potential for extra sales exist if they are introduced to things like Animoji and iMessage game without the sales pitch. I believe now is the time to push forward to a universal platform and let the benefits shine through.