Android Messages, Google’s default messaging app on Android, has a long way to go before it overtakes other chat apps, but recent feature updates have made the app a more compelling offering. The best new feature is the recent integration with web browsers like Google Chrome and Firefox. Other upcoming features we’re on the lookout for are the Material Theme redesign and the Chrome OS integration. Now, Android Messages 3.4 is rolling out on the Google Play Store and it brings a functional dark theme (but sadly, it’s not enabled for users yet—we had to force it on to show it off!) and prepares for pairing with Chromebooks.
An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by Google in a future build.
Android Messages Dark Theme
This feature was first hinted at in version 3.2 of the app, but it wasn’t functional then. This latest release now brings a working dark mode to the app, as discovered by XDA Recognized Developer Quinny899 (Kieron Quinn of Mighty Quinn Apps) and also enabled by us. As shown in the screenshots below, the app takes on a dark gray color when you enable dark mode in the menu. There are still a few areas where the dark theme is clearly incomplete such as when tapping on a contact to block them as the text is still black which contrasts poorly with the gray background.
The next feature isn’t live yet, at least from what we can tell, but we did find a string in the APK that shows that the app will support pairing with a Chromebook. As we discovered earlier, Chrome OS will integrate with the Android Messages app as part of a broader feature-set called “Better Together.” “SMS Connect”, one of the features under the “Better Together” umbrella, was recently renamed to “Android Messages,” so clearly this upcoming integration is preparing for the launch of “Better Together.”
<string name="ditto_cros_pairing_foreground_service_notification_title">Pairing with Chromebook</string>
We’ll keep an eye out for when the dark theme or Chromebook integration officially launches in the app. Also, if we come across any new features or findings in our teardown, we will update this article with any more information. You can download Android Messages 3.4 from the Google Play Store once it rolls out for your Google account.