For all the advances in smartphones in the past decade or so, text messaging hasn't changed much outside of proprietary systems like Apple's iMessage or BlackBerry's BBM. That may now finally be starting to change, however. T-Mobile announced earlier today that it's begun to roll out a new "Advanced Messaging" system -- and the interesting bit is that it's built on the Rich Communication Services (or RCS) standard that other carriers could also choose to use.
The rollout is a limited one to begin with. According to T-Mobile, the only phone that supports it right now is the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime that the carrier also just launched today. The Samsung Galaxy S5 and S6 are next in line to get the ugprade via software updates promised soon, with T-Mobile promising support on "more than a dozen" phones by the end of the year.
The service itself promises one on one and group messaging with "near real-time chat," along with other iMessage-like features including delivery and read notifications, an indication when other people are typing, and a higher 10MB limit on photos and videos. What's more, assuming other carriers follow suit, all of those features will work across both different carriers and different devices.
In a blog post, T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray also teases that "Advanced Messaging is just one of many new features we're launching based on RCS," although he didn't offer any further hints as to what those other features may be.