Beeper couldn’t bring iMessage to Android, but it can still be a great chat app

Pieper needed a new start. At the end of last year, the company invested heavily in a hacked iMessage app for Android, which was shut down by Apple within days. Beeper tried to fight back, but ultimately threw in the towel in widespread defeat just weeks later.

“December has been a wild ride,” says Eric Migicovsky, co-founder of Beeper The edge.

With the dreams of an iMessage app dead, Beeper went back to square one to figure out the next steps. And the answer was to stop fighting Apple and return to its original goal: bringing every chat app (except iMessage) into one place. “We have refocused on our core mission,” says Migicovsky, “which is building the best chat app in the world.”

The new Beeper app launched in beta last week and it’s a complete rewrite of the app the Beeper team was originally working on. It doesn’t turn your green Android bubbles to blue (like Beeper Mini briefly did), but it does a bunch of other cool things that make it a lot easier to message your friends on different platforms.

I’ve never been so aware of all the people I ghost

It starts with your text messages. Beeper’s inbox can retrieve the RCS and SMS messages your phone already receives. You can then connect Beeper to messaging services such as Telegram, WhatsApp, Messenger and Signal and to social platforms such as Instagram, LinkedIn and X. Even full-fledged chat services such as Discord and Slack are supported. The app also syncs with a desktop client, so you can access your messages across platforms.

I’ve been trying out a beta version of the app for the past week and I’ve never been more aware of all the people I’m ghosting.

That’s because all your linked messages are moved into one inbox: read, unread, or ignored. It was a bit of an eye-opener for me as I scrolled through posts I had completely missed or forgotten about on platforms I don’t use that often, like LinkedIn and Discord. It is very convenient because you don’t have to check individual apps every time. For example, on Instagram I don’t turn on my notifications because I don’t care about getting pings about liked photos, but that means I don’t get notifications about DMs. I also don’t have the LinkedIn app, so I don’t get push notifications about messages there either. Beeper actually solves that problem for me.

But it is a bit chaotic at times. There are some ways to organize all your messages, but this isn’t enough. For example, you cannot delete or archive chats. Beeper says it is working to add this in the future.

For now you can choose from a “Minimal” or “Pro” interface. The Pro version lets you enable app icons for each chat, indicating which services each message comes from, while the Minimal version doesn’t, keeping things a little tidier. I also found it useful to pin certain chats, which puts your most important contacts at the top of the app. Aside from the overcrowded inbox, Beeper isn’t much different from the other texting apps I’ve used, as you can attach images, record voice messages, and create group chats.

Beeper originally launched its all-in-one chat app in 2021, but it was only available via a waitlist. The new Beeper comes with features the previous version didn’t have, including a refreshed design and the ability to connect new messaging platforms from the mobile app – not just the desktop client. It also adds support for foldable devices and native Android features like chat calling. Now that it has been rebuilt, Beeper wants to eliminate the waiting list and make the messaging app available to everyone.

“Everyone appreciates the speed and finish of the new app,” says Migicovsky The edge. “Because it is an open beta test and we have an extremely passionate user base, we have also received feedback and feature requests.” For now, users can access the Beeper beta if they have an existing Beeper account. You can also sign up for the waiting list so that you can gain access at a later time.

The beta so far has been “huge,” Migicovsky says. By last Friday, he said, a third of Beeper’s Android users had already upgraded.

Beeper’s roadmap is promising. It includes things like Android Auto support, scheduled messages, “@” mentions, the ability to see a list of who has responded to a message, and a feature that lets you archive messages. There are also some experimental features you can try out, including a fully end-to-end encrypted signal bridge on the device and a sticker maker.

Beeper hoped to score a big win by taking on iMessage. Now that it’s forced to rely on its original pitch, every bit of performance matters. It is a bit overwhelming to have posts from so many different sources in one place, but so far I like Beeper. And in any case, this new version of the app cannot be implemented by one company.

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