According to the latest report by XDA, Google Messages, one of the popular messaging apps, will soon stop working on uncertified Android phones.
In an APK Teardown, a new string of code reveals that Google Messages will stop working on uncertified Android phones in April 2021.
There are a lot of devices in the market that ship with Google Messages app as the default SMS and RCS client. It is widely used without many people even realizing that they use it.
Since the app is pretty simple to use and provides a straightforward approach for SMS, many people don't even feel the need to look for an alternative to the Google Messages app.
If the upcoming change materializes, then users of uncertified Android phones may have to look for alternatives. Uncertified Android phones mean that are not officially certified to use Google Mobile Services.
And yes. You are right about the thought in your head. Huawei and Honor phones that come with HMS (Huawei Mobile Services) will also be on the radar.
A new string of code was spotted in the Google Messages app version 7.2.203
Folks at XDA spotted a new string of code in the Google Messages APK version 7.2.203. The message clearly reads Messages will stop working on uncertified Android devices from March 31, 2021, onwards.
Here is the string of the code for your reference:
<string name="ip_compliance_warning_message">On March 31, Messages will stop working on uncertified devices, including this one.</string>
As already mentioned, uncertified devices although run on Android, but ditch or fail Google's official certification process. This means that they do not come with any of the Google Apps pre-installed.
But Android being an open-source platform, you can easily side-load any of the Google apps. In fact, Google Messages is one of the few first-party apps you can easily side-load on your smartphone that does not have access to GMS.
The main problem, if this change comes into effect, will be for Huawei smartphone owners. The US government has put the company on the Commerce Department’s Entity List in 2019. This does not allow Google to work with Huawei.
Ever since then, Huawei devices do not come with access to GMS or any of the Google Apps pre-installed. Side-loading won't be an option after April 2021.
According to XDA, one reason to make this change is presumed to be the fact that Google Messages will support end-to-end encryption.
And if Google allows uncertified devices to run Google Messages, then end-to-end encryption would be difficult to implement.
Another important thing that our reader should note is that an APK teardown can often predict the upcoming changes that may come with a future update. But it is also possible that changes mentioned in the APK teardown post will make their way in future releases.