Microsoft is once again expanding the functionality of Your Phone, an app designed to link Android phones to Windows PCs. This time, the focus is RCS, a messaging protocol designed to replace the traditional SMS.
Users could previously send Multimedia Message Service (MMS) texts through Your Phone, but RCS builds on that functionality. It includes features like read receipts, typing indicators, high-res photos, named group chats, and much more. It is essentially bringing Android closer to Apple's holy grail of messaging services, iMessage.
Unfortunately, tapping into this functionality from your PC currently requires one of the latest Samsung devices. S20 phones are the only ones to support it so far, owing to Microsoft's partnership with the Korean phone-maker.
Proud to announce that we have partnered with the Samsung Messages team to bring RCS messaging support to #yourphone app via #linktowindows. Starting with the #galaxys20series you will be able to send and receive RCS texts from PC if your default SMS app is Samsung Messages!
— Roberto Bojorquez [Microsoft] (@bojorchess) February 15, 2020
On top of this, you'll have to be using Samsung Messages to make use of the feature. If you're still a user of Google's messaging service, you're out of luck. Microsoft says this functionality is ‘starting' with the S20 series, which suggests it will roll out to more devices soon. Interestingly, the supported Samsung devices don't include the Galaxy Z-flip foldable, which launched alongside the S20.
Wider Android support may be dependant on Google, and I wouldn't hold your breath if that's the case. While the search giant hasn't outright impeded Microsoft's efforts to link the two OSes, it hasn't been jumping to help. ChromeOS directly competes with Windows in some areas, after all.
However, it's worth noting that you can message from your PC via Google's Messages for Web. If you're using the new Microsoft Edge, you can install this like a standalone app by pressing the ‘+' symbol in your address bar.