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In 2023, Android users will finally have an easy way to get iMessage thanks to the new Sunbird app.
Sunbird is currently in closed beta and claims to be the first and only full featured iMessage app for Android. It doesn't require a relay server, Apple device, or desktop software, just an Apple ID.
It supports encryption, high-quality photos and videos, iMessage group chats, reactions, taps, real-time typing indicators, and read receipts.
Now the focus is on the Apple iMessage service. In a conference call with AppleInsider, the Sunbird team called it “an easy-hanging fruit” as they noticed how many Google searches there are for terms like “iMessage on Android.”
However, Sunbird aims to be the one-stop messaging app for many other services, including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, SMS/MMS, and more that the company will add in the future.
“We've solved 14 years of Android messaging communication problems,” says Danny Mizrachi, CEO and founder of Sunbird Messaging. “By inventing a new technology that gives Android users iMessage on Android, it is possible to enjoy the most popular features and functions, bringing together the best messaging apps that people use every day. One inbox for all your messages.”
The product roadmap for other messaging services includes Telegram, RCS, Instagram Direct Messaging, Slack, Signal, and Discord.
Sunbird is quick to point out that its servers never store personal data or login information from third parties. All types of messages are encrypted with end-to-end encryption, except for SMS, which do not support end-to-end encryption.
The company also plans to create a web application for Sunbird, but has no plans to release an app for iOS yet. at least for the time being.
Sunbird will be sending out invitations to join the Closed Beta user group in stages starting at the end of 2022. For now, the company is hoping for a public release in mid-2023.
The app will be free for the foreseeable future.
It's still early…
AppleInsider attended the launch of the announcement. Sunbird showed several demos of the application, such as adding iMessage integration.
There was no clear indication whether this was a live demo or not. The team mentioned that their app is still in early alpha testing.
They answered a couple of questions regarding privacy and security. Sunbird has mentioned this topic many times, saying that they don't store any user data or messages.
Services that are planned to be added, such as iMessage and Signal, rely on end-to-end encryption. We asked if the company had done an independent security audit, and the team said it was in the future.
If the app works as intended, it could be a big breakthrough for Android users. Instead of relying on unencrypted methods like Facebook Messenger or SMS, Sunbird can provide a more private way to communicate with Apple friends and family.