This couldn’t be more underwhelming. All they’ve done is add yet another messaging service which doesn’t even have any new features really. They didn’t even come out and say that GTalk, Gmail chat, Messenger etc would be replaced by this automatically.
This is yet another attempt to force people to use G+, nothing more. Instead of creating a true unified messaging experience, its an app tightly tied to G+.
And it seems Google has completely given up on anything to do with an actual phone, such as Voice, SMS etc. Instead of using their power to create a better user experience, they’ll just let carriers destroy Android, and people will continue using what really works – text messages via various 3rd party apps.
I have a Verizon GS3 which I ran stock for a few months, then used custom TouchWiz roms, and recently I’m trying out AOSP roms. I’ve tried all the major ones – CM 10.1, LiquidSmooth, Rootbox, SlimBean etc.
You only have to read the XDA/rootzwiki forums to realize that all the AOSP roms still have issues – whether its stability, random reboots, BT/GPS issues etc. And none of these are going to get fully resolved until Samsung has an official 4.2.2 version for the GS3.
This is the nature of Android – only Nexus phones get a fully stable platform, every other phone will depend on the hard work and reverse engineering skills of various devs, but there are no guarantees. It’s amazing how people are willing to live with their phone randomly freezing or restarting just to be able to run stock Android and enjoy features the device should have had on day one.
And more than anything this is Google’s fault, as they didn’t engineer Android to have a device independent layer for most of the OS and didn’t mandate oem’s to require timely updates.