Samsung announced on Wednesday that it will be acquiring NewNet Communication Technologies, a company specializing in Rich Communications Services (RCS). This has led to speculations that the South Korean tech giant might be working on its own messaging platform thats similar to Apple’s iMessage.
Samsung announced the acquisition of NewNet Communications Technologies, or NewNet Canada, for an undisclosed amount and that it will continue to operate independently as a unit of Samsung Electronics Canada, according to CNET. NewNet provides infrastructure and services for RCS which is the next generation of SMS text messaging.
Simply put, RCS enables regular text messages to look and function like chat messaging on apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and iMessage. “Consumers will benefit from an advanced messaging experience with features such as enhanced calling, group chat, and the ability to easily share and transfer large files including multimedia and high-resolution photos,” Samsung said in its press release.
“Unlike other messaging apps in the market, users will be able to communicate on any network, with an RCS-enabled device as well as SMS-only devices.”
Samsung hasn’t made any announcements on whether its planning on providing a proprietary messaging service that will be integrated into its smartphones. Many believe that the acquisition of NewNet may be Samsung’s first step in creating its own messaging platform that will directly compete with Apple’s iMessage. It’s also possible that Samsung is looking to simply improve how SMS text messaging works on its devices.
The last time that Samsung provided its own chat messaging service was 2011’s ChatOn, as pointed out by TechCrunch. The service was pre-installed on all Galaxy smartphones and tablets, and was also available to download for iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices. However, ChatOn never really made much impact and was eventually discontinued last year.
Samsung hasn’t clarified what it plans to do with NewNet Canada as it will continue to operate as a standalone business. Earlier this week, Samsung also announced plans to acquire audio systems maker Harman for $8 billion.