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Thieves return stolen Android because it’s not an iPhone – I guess they don’t care about RCS

Published Dec 5th, 2023 11:49AM EST
iPhone 15 Pro on a table.
Image: Jonathan Geller, BGR

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Google scored a lukewarm victory against Apple a few weeks ago when the latter announced iMessage will soon support RCS messaging. However, iMessages will remain blue and encrypted, while RCS messages will stay green and unencrypted. Apple will only support the RCS standard the GSMA developed, not the proprietary RCS product that Google operates.

I said time and again that Google has bigger problems than the iMessage bubble war it’s fighting in an effort to make Android as appealing as the iPhone. Getting Apple to support RCS will not stop the iPhone from being the more coveted product.

There’s no better proof of that than the story of a couple of thieves bringing back a stolen Android handset because it wasn’t an iPhone. I guess they haven’t heard about Android users finally being able to text iPhone users via RCS.

It all happened in Washington, DC, early one morning. She’s an Uber Eats and Instacart driver, and her husband wanted to help her park her car. That’s when the masked thieves came.

“As soon as he parked the car two masked gentlemen came up to him, armed,” she said. “They robbed him, took everything he had in his pockets, took the keys to my truck and got in and pulled off.”

The attackers had guns, and they took her husband’s smartphone. But then they returned it, unhappy that it wasn’t an iPhone. “They basically looked at that phone and was like ‘Oh, that’s an Android? We don’t want this. I thought it was an iPhone,'” she said.

The even bigger problem is the theft of the car that was used as the livelihood of the couple.

As for stealing iPhones, thieves should know better. The handsets routinely have Find My iPhone active, so they are easy to track and disable.

The unfortunate event happened on the same day as a public hearing in DC on the surge of crime and Mayor Muriel Bowser’s proposed “Addressing Crime Trends Now” (ACT Now) bill.

ABC7 also quotes remarks from DC Police Chief Pamela Smith that her department has seen promising crime trends since July.

“Carjackings are down 7%,” Smith said. “Assault with a dangerous weapon is down 6% and vehicle theft is down 11%. Overall, indexed violent crime is down three crimes and robbery is up 14 crimes over the prior period in 2023.”

The victim of this carjacking disagrees. She said they’re seeing “rapid numbers of carjackings every day.” According to the woman, the thieves are getting “younger and younger.”

If that’s accurate, it would also explain why the thieves didn’t want to steal Android phones. A recent Piper Sandler survey showed that teens in the US overwhelmingly prefer the iPhone to Android. A Gallup survey in Korea showed that young adults also want an iPhone over a Samsung phone.

Separately, a CIRP study showed that iMessage is far from being the main reason for Android users to switch to the iPhone. Most switchers had problems with Android or wanted new features.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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