Explainer: What is RCS and how is it different from SMS, MMS and OTT apps | Tech News

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RCS, or Rich Communication Services, is a communication protocol intended to enhance messaging experiences while maintaining compatibility with traditional SMS. It introduces features like group chats, high-resolution photo sharing, read receipts, and typing indicators, akin to those found in apps like WhatsApp or iMessage. Notably, RCS maintains backward compatibility with SMS, allowing for simple text-based messaging even without an internet connection.

Unlike SMS, which is limited in features, RCS requires an internet connection for advanced functionalities but seamlessly falls back to SMS when internet access is unavailable. This capability sets it apart from over-the-top messaging apps like WhatsApp and Messenger, which rely solely on internet connectivity.

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RCS operates as a protocol rather than a platform, meaning it can be integrated into default messaging services without the need for separate apps or accounts. Furthermore, RCS allows for interoperability across devices with RCS support, unlike OTT apps that often operate within closed ecosystems.

In comparison to SMS/MMS, RCS offers numerous advantages such as higher text limits, media sharing in high-resolution, file sharing capabilities, group chats, read receipts, and typing indicators. These features enhance the messaging experience and bring it closer to that of modern messaging platforms.

espite its advancements, RCS does not entirely replace SMS, as it still relies on it as a fallback when internet connectivity is lacking. However, RCS adoption continues to grow, particularly among Android users, as Google provides an RCS client to network providers, enabling RCS messaging on Android devices running version 5.0 or later.

Currently, iPhones use iMessage as their default messaging system, which offers similar features but lacks interoperability with non-Apple devices. However, Apple has announced plans to support RCS Universal Profile on iPhones, allowing RCS to work alongside iMessage and expanding messaging capabilities for iPhone users.

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