Green Chat Bubbles Aren’t the Problem—Texting Is

When an Android user sends a text message to an iPhone user, their chat bubble shows up in iOS shaded green rather than iMessage’s default blue. This color coding signals to the iPhone user that the incoming text is arriving from outside the Apple ecosystem. But the divide goes beyond simple aesthetics. Photos and videos shared between the two mobile platforms don’t come through at full resolution. Neither do rich interactions like read receipts, typing indicators, and tapbacks. Group chats between the platforms are a total mess, filled with dropped messages and hurt feelings. A new app aims to bridge that blue-green bubble gap and make texting more seamless—and more secure with full encryption. It even turns Android texts blue! It’s what we’ve always wanted … right?

This week on Gadget Lab, we talk about Beeper Mini, the app trying to make our text conversations easier. WIRED features editor Jason Kehe joins us to campaign against the trend of interoperability on our phones. As Jason sees it, these friction-free communication mechanisms are causing us to slip into bad habits, become more isolated, and feel less inclined to put down our phones and have a real experience.

Show Notes

Read Lauren’s story about the new Beeper app and the teenage coder who helped make it work. Read more of Jason’s various other controversial opinions.


Jason recommends piracy, and also a few works about pirates like the show Our Flag Means Death and the book Under the Black Flag by David Cordingly. Lauren recommends the new BlackBerry movie. Mike recommends pizzelle Italian cookies. Buy ‘em or make ‘em.

Jason Kehe can be found on social media @jkehe. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.

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