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The RCS Mirage: "Advanced Messaging" is a mess in the US, and Google's "standard" is just one more

There has been much noise made about Google's launch of its RCS messaging platform via the Messenger app on Sprint today. Sprint announced it would support Google's RCS platform, formerly known as Jibe, back in February, though, and remains the only US provider to do so.

But T-Mobile and AT&T have launched RCS messaging, right? Yes. But their versions don't work with Google's (Sprint's) RCS. And AT&T's RCS messaging doesn't work with T-Mobile's, and vice versa. And there's no indication that this will change any time soon. While both T-Mobile and AT&T have signed on to the GSMA's soon-to-be-published intercompatible RCS messaging standard, carriers seem much more interested in making "advanced messaging" a carrier feature rather than the universal SMS replacement it was developed to be.

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Google makes RCS support in Messenger official, will be default SMS/RCS app on all Sprint Android devices

The ultimate goal of RCS is to completely replace SMS, but moving the millions of daily SMS users away is no small feat. Yesterday, we posted that RCS support was being rolled out to some Messenger users on Sprint and Project Fi. Now Google has made the feature official, and should be available to all Sprint customers starting today.

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RCS is going live for some Google Messenger users, enabling "enhanced features" for messaging

A little over a week ago, we first detected several less-than-subtle hints of Rich Communication Services, more commonly known as RCS, in Google Messenger 2.0's code. In case you don't know what RCS is, it essentially adds some useful features to SMS that are similar to what you'll find in Apple's iMessage. Now, for a select few, Google has flipped a server-side switch for RCS.

Google's initiative to make RCS more commonplace isn't new, though; last year, the Mountain View-based company purchased Jibe Mobile, a startup with an RCS platform. Allo was expected to receive RCS support, but since that didn't pan out, Messenger is the very first Google app to support it.

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Google Play services v10 can show a notification with player controls anytime a device on the network is Casting [APK Download]

If the people in your home get regular use of a Chromecast, you're probably more than aware of just how inconvenient it is when the Casting device isn't handy. Sure, you can always pick up your phone or tablet and track down the Google Home app (formerly named Google Cast), but that takes a lot of taps – and most people don't have it installed or even realize it has player controls. The latest update to Google Play services takes care of this little issue by adding a long overdue and oft-requested feature: it pops up a notification with player controls anytime a Cast session is active.

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Amazon Rapids is a $2.99 subscription for short kid stories written as chat conversations

 

By now, you need a $100 monthly Amazon budget if you want to subscribe to all of the company's paid plans and features. But if you still have a couple of dollars left in your pocket by the end of the month and you have kids that would enjoy an innovative reading experience, then you might be interested in adding another subscription to your payments.

Amazon Rapids is a quick reading and storytelling experience built around instant messaging. Stories unfold like chats between the different characters, a modern way to entice young readers between the ages 7 and 12, and introduce them to reading in a medium that they're familiar with.

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Fix is Adobe's latest 'Photoshop' app, focused on easy portrait editing

Remember when Adobe at least pretended it was making a "real" version of Photoshop for Android? That was nice. Now we have no less than four "Photoshop" apps - Photoshop Express, Photoshop Mix, Photoshop Sketch, and the new Photoshop Fix. Separating and dumbing down the program's functions into bite-sized mobile experiences makes a certain kind of sense, but as someone who's been using the desktop program for half his life, I can't help but be annoyed at the nebulous branding.

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Brave Software changes app name back to Link Bubble, releases separate tabbed Brave Browser

Brave Software acquired Link Bubble from developer Chris Lacy a few years back, aiming to turn it into a friendlier ad-blocking browser. The name was eventually changed to Brave, but now the owners are reversing course. It's Link Bubble again, and there's a more conventional browser app available called Brave. Yeah, it's kind of a mess.

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DC Legends is now available for Android from WB Games

Do you love mobile RPGs with in-app purchases? Is your love for DC characters not diminished from poor movie adaptions? Then DC Legends might just be the game for you. After appearing on the Play Store for pre-registration, the game is finally available for download.

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Uber overhauls its app, focuses on the destination

Celebrate, Uber riders! The ride-sharing service has announced that it is overhauling its aging app. Gone will be the overly complicated navigation (they said it, not me) — instead, the app will be cleaner, smoother, and faster. Uber even states that it will be rebuilt from the ground up. The redesign focuses on the question of "Where to?" Since we all use Uber to, you know, get somewhere.

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Latest beta of Android Wear companion app allows filtering non-Wear Bluetooth devices and prepares to launch the Play Store from phones [APK Download + Teardown]

Development on the Android Wear platform has stumbled a bit as the official 2.0 release has been delayed until early 2017. That doesn't mean the companion app can't continue to get updates. A fresh beta build of v2.0 came out a couple of days ago with a couple small tweaks to remove one of the little annoying things about the Bluetooth pairing process. The teardown also reveals a couple of interesting additions related to standalone apps and the Wear-specific Play Store.

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