Samsung Galaxy S21 makes Google Messages app native, but there's a catch

At Samsung Unpacked on Thursday, the electronics giant unveiled its Galaxy S21 smartphones, which will arrive on Jan. 29 with a small but important change: Google Messages will be a native texting platform.

"We made Messages by Google native to the S21 series to help you to stay close to your favorite people," said Federico Casalegno, head of experience planning at Samsung. CNET has a guide explaining how to use the Google Messages app.

Google Messages is the default text messaging app on most Android phones, and has a chat feature built in to it that enables advanced features -- many of which are similar to what you'd find in Apple's iMessage. The technical name for this type of messaging is Rich Communication Services (RCS), which replaces Short Message Service (SMS) texts.

However, if you read the fine print during the Unpacked presentation, it notes that availability may vary based on region or carrier -- which means Samsung Messages may still be the default, as 9to5Google noted. But you'll still be able to download the app in the Play Store to replace Samsung Messages.