An ambitious developer has taken up the rather laborious task of running Apple's iMessage on an Android device. However, after a long spell of brainstorming, he has finally posted his ongoing project on GitHub to ask for help from other developers who might have alternate ideas or share similar ambitions.
Eric, the developer in question, has named his project 'PieMessage' which is an open source one and uses an OS X device as a server to exchange iMessages between Android devices. The project is still a prototype and is nowhere near completion but going by Eric's arguments, it seems he just needs a few nuts and bolts in the prototype project to be fixed before he can send iMessages from one Android phone running Android 4.0 Jelly Bean operating system or later versions of Android to another. The recipe for the project includes an Apple device running the OS X platform, access to applescript which contains the precious code for sending iMessages, access to the Java Web Server and Android Studio and a couple of Android devices in hand.
Once a message is sent from an Android device to the OS X server, it detects it and forwards the message to another Android device via the Java Web Server in the form of an iMessage. This might sound simple but involves a number of smaller steps to be completed. First of all, it involves two servers which need constant reminders from each Android device and from each other to receive and forward packets of data which finally piece together to complete the chain. In theory, Eric's work is done but he still needs to overcome some challenges like combining both servers, namely the OS X one and the Java Web Server, to make operations faster. He also needs help with sending group messages as he isn't able to figure out the exact script required to send multiple iMessages in a single conversation thread.
Apple's iMessage has been a popular mode of interaction between iOS device users who can chat for free over the internet without having to bother with text messages. Even though the Android operating system has taken great strides over the years, there hasn't been a way for Android users to communicate with iMessage users on iOS, a void that a number of developers have been attempting to fill. In 2013, an app developer named Daniel Zweigart published an app on the Google Play Store which could mimic the look and feel of the iMessage app and allowed Android users to send iMessages to Apple devices. However, the operation involved relaying messages to iOS devices through a server which masqueraded as a Mac Mini to fool Apple's ID checks. The app was later found to contain massive security flaws and privacy risks and was ultimately shut down. Last year, a class action lawsuit against Apple was thrown out after it was alleged that those who switched from iOS to Android stopped receiving simple tests from other iOS devices because Apple wanted such users to return to the iOS fold.