If there’s one thing iPhone and Android users agree on, it’s the hatred of green bubbles. A pox on the messaging community, green bubbles ruin iPhone group messages, end relationships, and create an overall terrible experience for everyone involved.
A new app called Sunbird wants to change that. Available in closed beta and with a view to a summer 2023 release, the concept is simple: Android users will be able to communicate with their iPhone friends as if everyone were using an iPhone. Macworld saw a demo of the system in use and it’s pretty nifty: sign in with an Apple ID, authenticate your iCloud account with a two-factor authentication code, and start texting with your iPhone friends in blue bubbles .
The developers claim that since it uses Apple’s own iMessage system, there is no risk. Sunbird does not store your Apple ID password on its servers and all messages are always end-to-end encrypted: “Users enjoy security (encryption), internet mail, quality media, iMessage group chats, reactions/tap backs, live – typing and reading receipts, with plans to add new features regularly.”
It’s not the first time someone has tried to bring iMessage to Android, but it seems to be the easiest. Other solutions require a Mac or iPhone running software that communicates with a dedicated server, but Sunbird requires very little setup and no investment on the user’s part other than a free iCloud account. Additionally, the developers say Sunbird will be free “for now,” with no intention of monetizing the service at launch.
However, there are plans to extend Sunbird to other messaging applications. First on the list is Whatsapp and Telegram and Messenger are also on their radar. The goal is to turn Sunbird into a single messaging application that allows you to communicate with anyone on any platform, regardless of the service or operating system used. There are also plans to create a web application for Sunbird.
“By inventing a new technology that gives Android users iMessage on Android, one can enjoy the most popular functions and features bringing together the best messaging apps that people use every day,” said Danny Mizrahi, CEO and Founder from Sunbird Messaging. “One inbox for all your messages.”
It remains to be seen whether Apple will allow Sunbird to operate without a legal battle, however. Sunbird’s method brings the entire iMessage experience (typing prompts, uncompressed photos and videos, and of course, blue bubbles) to Android phones and the developers say it doesn’t rely on Apple to play. However, Apple has admitted that iMessage “locking” is one of the main reasons it hasn’t brought the service to Android, so it will likely be overshadowed by Sunbird’s approach. It’s unclear what recourse Apple has since the app will be in the Google Play Store and not the App Store, but Apple attorneys will likely take a look once it arrives “in about six months”.
For now, Android users are joining a waiting list to participate in a closed beta of Sunbird. So the next time your Android friend sends you a message with a blue bubble, it might not mean they changed phones, just that they downloaded a new app.