Nothing introduces blue bubble messaging for Android with Nothing Chats

crop woman using smartphone and listening to music in headphones

In the contemporary digital landscape, the color of your messaging bubbles has become a surprisingly significant point of contention, particularly in the United States. The blue versus green bubble debate, a distinction between Apple’s iMessage and other messaging platforms, has been a persistent topic of discussion. In an attempt to address this issue, Nothing is launching a messaging platform for its Nothing Phone 2, which will introduce the coveted blue bubbles to Android users.

However, this development may come with potential data security implications. Nothing has announced the launch of its new messaging app, Nothing Chats, on November 17. This app will be exclusive to the Phone 2, and presumably future Nothing phones, and will bring iMessage compatibility to Nothing’s handset, along with several iMessage features.

These features include single messaging, group chats, live typing indicators, full-resolution media sharing, voice notes, read receipts, and message reactions and replies.

The London-based company has stated that the app is currently in beta and also offers Rich Communication Services (RCS). Users with a Phone 2 in the US, Canada, UK, EU, and other European countries, including Norway and Switzerland, will be able to download the app from the Google Play Store upon its launch. However, the introduction of Nothing Chats has raised some security concerns.

While there are already apps like Sunbird and Beeper that promise to bring iMessage compatibility to Android, Nothing Chats is built on Sunbird’s architecture but is designed by Nothing. To use Nothing Chats, users must create a Nothing account and connect it to their Apple ID. This is where potential security issues arise.

To enable the blue bubble feature, a virtual Mac mini is assigned to each user’s account. Text messages are then sent through this virtual machine, creating the illusion of one Apple device communicating with another. This process involves entrusting your Apple ID data and password to a third party, which could potentially jeopardize data security. In response to these concerns, Android Authority reached out to Nothing.

A spokesperson for the company assured that Sunbird does not store any message data, metadata, or usernames/passwords, except for the email used to create the Sunbird login. The company’s proprietary technology allows for the pass-through and deletion of data. Upon logging in, the user’s Apple ID data is immediately destroyed during the tokenization process, ensuring it is not vulnerable to bad actors.

Sunbird’s server data streams are fully encrypted, and even in the event of an intrusion, Apple ID data would not be accessible as it is not stored anywhere at any point and is automatically deleted as part of the tokenization process. Despite these assurances, the prospect of risking data security may deter some users from trying the app.

However, for those less concerned about these potential risks, Nothing Chats offers a new way to connect with iPhone users without the annoyance of the green bubble. The launch of Nothing Chats is a significant development in the ongoing debate over messaging platforms and serves as a reminder of the importance of data security in the digital age.

John Biggs

John Biggs is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and maker. He spent fifteen years as an editor for Gizmodo, CrunchGear, and TechCrunch and has a deep background in hardware startups, 3D printing, and blockchain. His work has appeared in Men’s Health, Wired, and the New York Times.

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