The Android Messages app for Samsung's Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus flagships will soon be updated with support for chatbots powered by Rich Communication Services, the technology meant to replace traditional SMS, XDA Developers reports, citing a number of screenshots seen in the gallery below which were obtained from the SamCentral Discord Server. The functionality is already said to be available on AT&T as the Dallas, Texas-based wireless carrier distributed it along with the March security update for Samsung's latest high-end phablets which was distributed in March, almost immediately after the devices became available for purchase. Other mobile service providers may follow suit in the coming weeks, as suggested by a leaked build of Android 8.0 Oreo with the May security update which supports the same service.
Being powered by RCS, the chatbot platform works directly within the Messages app and doesn't require any additional solutions to be installed on supported handsets. The framework is still relatively light on content as it supports only nine chatbots in total: CNN, 1-800-Flowers Assistant, SnapTravel, JustAnswers 24-7 Experts, 385Scores, HereWeGo Chat, Walgreens, SkyScanner, and Syte Inspire. All available tools are powered by verified accounts of their respective companies, allowing users to quickly find out various information about their offerings or even order products and services, depending on the chatbot.
Samsung has been pushing for a wider adoption of RCS for some time now, though it's presently unclear whether native chatbot support of its Android app will eventually be available on older devices. RCS has been around since 2012 but has yet to be fully standardized, with Google now striving to promote it via its Chat initiative which largely relies on the wireless industry, i.e. the country's largest telecom giants being willing to cooperate and adopt the technology on a national scale. Should the Alphabet-owned company be successful in its efforts to standardize RCS, Android Messages may eventually be updated with a similar chatbot service.