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Startup Beeper Launches Android App Allowing Users to Send iMessages

In a surprising turn of events, Beeper, a messaging startup, is launching an Android app called Beeper Mini that claims to enable users to send messages as blue bubbles on Apple's iMessage platform from non-Apple devices. The app, developed by a 16-year-old high school student who reverse-engineered iMessage, allows Android users to interact seamlessly with iPhone users through iMessage. Beeper Mini distinguishes itself from other services by directly sending iMessages, eliminating the need for message relays through a Mac in the cloud. This unique approach aims to address security concerns, as witnessed in recent incidents involving other similar services.

Beeper Mini operates by registering a phone number with iMessage, sending messages directly to Apple's servers, and receiving messages natively within the app. The app does not access or store users' messages, contacts, or Apple ID passwords. The development team at Beeper conducted a comprehensive analysis of Apple's messaging system, including jailbreaking iPhones and studying the OS to understand and replicate the process within their Android app.

Security is a critical aspect of Beeper Mini's design, and the app's code is set to be open source, allowing scrutiny by the wider developer community. The company emphasizes that it adheres to legal standards, leveraging a reverse engineering carve-out for copyright protection.

While Beeper Mini appears to offer a workaround for Android users to access iMessage, questions linger about its long-term viability. The CEO of Beeper, Eric Migicovsky, believes the app is on solid legal ground and contends that Apple would face challenges cutting off Beeper without disrupting iMessage for genuine Apple devices.

The launch of Beeper Mini comes at a time when Apple has announced plans to adopt the RCS messaging standard, bringing iMessage-like features to cross-platform texting. However, Beeper sees an ongoing role for its platform, envisioning a unified app that integrates various chat services, including WhatsApp, Messenger, Signal, and more.

As Beeper Mini makes its debut, it will cost $2 per month, providing access exclusively to iMessage. The company plans to drop the "Mini" branding in the future, integrating additional chat services available on Beeper's main app. The long-term goal is to create an all-encompassing app that facilitates communication with users across different messaging platforms, offering a seamless and unified messaging experience.


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