iMessage has long been the primary distinction between iPhone and Android users (well, here in the US anyway). It’s created a massive rift between the two platforms because iPhone users have their own exclusive space to hang out where Android users are at best annoying and at worst downright prohibited.
Many businesses have made an effort to address this issue. Despite its wealth and influence, Google has chosen to publicly mock the entire issue and urge Apple to implement RCS. By charging customers to link an Android handset with a real Apple device, like a Mac or even an iPhone, Beeper provides iMessage to Android.
Sunbird, though, is looking to be the one true app to rule them all. Today, the company gave Android Authority a rundown of the app (which is still in alpha) and how it works.
Sunbird: iMessage on Android
A pre-recorded screencast showing a Samsung phone interacting with what appears to be an iPhone via iMessage was displayed during the company’s presentation. Blue bubbles, Emoji replies, typing indicators, etc. were all present. It appeared as though the Samsung phone was an iPhone in all respects.
But the business never displayed what the iPhone saw. The fact that it was a pre-recorded film just added to our natural skepticism. We eventually received early access to the Sunbird app from the company so that we could test it out for ourselves.
The good news is that Sunbird and my Apple ID might be linked. I was able to hypothetically connect the two by logging into Apple via the Sunbird app. My subsequent attempts to send iMessages were unsuccessful. Whether it was text, a picture, or a vCard, my messages were simply never delivered to my intended receivers.
Sunbird and I tried to troubleshoot together, but we were unsuccessful. If we are successful in getting it running in the future, we will let you know.\
Does it work and what will it cost?
Sunbird has no intention of making its iMessage-to-Android technology open-source. Therefore, we were not given a thorough explanation of how this program functions (or at least should work).
However, based on what the business did state, it appears like it has expanded on the Beeper approach, which involves connecting an Android phone to an Apple-based system. The first is that each user does not require their own connected gear. Sunbird has developed a method that enables tens of thousands of users to connect to a single computer. Second, the company has also discovered a way to maintain end-to-end encryption using this technique, something Beeper and similar companies are unable to do. Once more, Sunbird withheld its method of operation.
Thankfully, if and when it does work and launches to the public, Sunbird says the app will be free — for a while. Early birds will get access to iMessage on Android and not have to pay a dime. In the future, the company could monetize the app by charging for other connected services, such as Telegram, Signal, or other chat apps.
In the meantime, we’ll continue working with Sunbird to get the app up and running on our own devices.