Verizon has confirmed to The Verge that it will launch RCS Chat with Pixel 3 and XL 3 on December 6. Only these two phones from Verizon have the feature, but the company tells me that it has "committed to serving other Verizon smartphones with advanced messaging in the future." In other words, the rollout of Chat on Verizon will probably be a bit slow, but it's even earlier than we expected. A few weeks ago, a Verizon boss said support for Chat would be in early 2019.
RCS is the standard text message that replaces SMS for Android phones. It supports features that you would expect from any text. Messaging client, including input indicators, high-resolution images and videos, and better group chat. Unfortunately, it does not have other features that you would expect in an SMS client: end-to-end data protection encryption.
RCS is also Google's core strategy to provide Android users better messaging Hangouts, its predecessors and Allo. All of these SMS apps (and those that appeared before them) had promising launches, but failed for reasons too numerous to dive in ̵
Verizon's implementation of RCS Chat will be compatible with other operators when they come onto the market as it is based on the "Universal Profile". Unfortunately, this support is starting to feel slow. Google's mobile service – Google Fi – does not support it yet. Other network operators have implemented their own proprietary versions of RCS and have promised to upgrade to Universal Profile.
Here's Verizon's statement:
Verizon and Google will be launching enhanced messaging (RCS) in the Google Pixel 3 news app and Google Pixel 3 XL as of this Thursday, December 6. For example, this messaging service offers tips, large group chats, and the ability to transfer large files between the owners of these smartphones.
The message from RCS to Pixel 3 was first displayed on Reddit. An apparent training document for Verizon employees states: "Chat features only work if all members of a group chat have chat enabled, and if no members are enabled, the default SMS / MMS service is the default." Fortunately, the chat appears to work in the default Android News application, so you do not need to use the Verizon custom messaging and SMS app. Conclusion: The Pixel 3 will soon support RCS, but whether or not you can actually use the new features depends on who you write to. Especially in the US, there were only vague rumors that Apple even considers the support of RCS on the iPhone.