The Sunbird messaging app for Android has flown the solar coop. The app has completely shut down following massive privacy concerns, as reported by 9to5Google. This comes after the app received increased scrutiny when it partnered with Nothing to act as the basis of the smartphone manufacturer’s Nothing Chats app. Nothing’s app was only available for less than one day before the aforementioned privacy concerns came to light and it was pulled.
The app’s gone from Google’s Play Store, though the parent company says this shutdown is temporary, according to an announcement posted on Reddit. Long story short? Sunbird was a niche product that didn’t quite work and the Nothing collaboration turned the spotlight to that fact. It promised full end-to-end encryption but many users could exploit vulnerabilities to access private user messages. 9to5Google, for instance, found over 630,000 files using this vulnerability. Call me crazy, but that doesn’t seem too secure.
The writing was on the wall for Sunbird to anyone paying attention, which wasn’t that many people until Nothing got involved. The company missed several deadlines for launch, all while making lofty promises regarding secure iMessage and Android chat interoperability. During the company’s first announcement presser back in 2022, Sunbird refused to take questions regarding the underlying technology of the app and related privacy concerns, closing the Zoom chat when things got too hot, as reported by ArsTechnica. This led reporters to suggest that Sunbird simply wasn’t a “serious company.”
There’s also the giant Apple-sized elephant in the room. The tech giant recently announced it would offer support for RCS text messaging in 2024, completely eliminating the need for workarounds like Sunbird in the first place. In other words, the green bubble-blue bubble divide is coming to an end.
Despite erasing itself from the Play Store, Sunbird’s official website makes no mention of the shutdown, still boasting about the app’s peerless end-to-end encryption. The company’s also yet to make a public statement on the matter.
This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/sunbird-shuts-down-its-imessage-app-for-android-after-major-privacy-concerns-160713312.html?src=rss