Android 4.4 To Let You Set A 3rd Party Messaging App As Default

The Android 4.4 KitKat update is getting near and we are all excited to see what comes out of the brain trust over at Google. One feature that they have confirmed is the ability for users to choose a third-party app as their default SMS or MMS app. This has of course never been available before.  Google notes that many third-party SMS and MMS apps have already been made using workarounds to gain access to users’ text messages, a method that it doesn’t quite condone. The specific changes which have been made are to SMS_DELIVER_ACTION and WAP_PUSH_DELIVER_ACTION, SMS and MMS respectively, which will only work with one app at a time starting with Android 4.4.

The details come amid rumours that Google will also begin bundling SMS and MMS messaging right into its Hangouts app, creating a competitor to Apple’s iMessage. It also reports that Google will do away with Android’s traditional Messaging app, leaving Hangouts as the only built-in text messaging option for Nexus devices. This is something we have wanted for some time, as Google have struggled somewhat to encompass all their messaging platforms into a single solution.

Thank you NextPowerUp and BandwithBlog for providing us with this information.

SMS and MMS To Be Merged Into Hangouts By Google

The Hangouts application, which has so far only successfully unified Google+ Messenger and Google Talk, leaving Messaging and Voice to co-exist, is finally getting SMS and MMS integration. According to sources familiar with the matter, the upcoming Hangouts version 1.3 has these features enabled and, furthermore, also allows sharing of videos via the Hangouts protocol.

Messages sent via SMS will be shown as “via SMS” next to the timestamp so that users can always figure out the protocol used for each message delivery. Users can also request delivery reports for sent SMS, a feature that is part of the SMS protocol that some use on a daily basis.

MMS picture messaging is supported as well, though it cannot be confirmed sending of video via MMS at this time. There is a settings menu for wireless alerts as well as a toggle for auto-retrieving messages while roaming. Finally, users can opt out of SMS via Hangouts altogether.

The Voice protocol has still to be implemented into Hangouts, but nobody knows if there will be another update in the future which allows Hangouts to be able to “engulf” the Voice protocol as well.

There is no official confirmation at this point about a possible release timeline and correlation between KitKat and this Hangouts update. It’s possible that Google will roll it out before KitKat but it’s equally as possible for it to come out later if it’s not fully baked just yet.

Thank you Android Police for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Android Police.