Nothing has pulled the beta for its new messaging app, Nothing Chats, from the Play Store just a day after its release, and says it’s delaying the launch “until further notice.” The company touted the Sunbird-based Nothing Chats as the answer to the longstanding “Android versus Apple” texting woes, with support for both RCS and iMessage to bridge the gap. But since its announcement, a growing number of critics have voiced concerns over the risks that workarounds like this bring, arguing that Nothing Chats is an inherently less secure messaging option.
We’ve removed the Nothing Chats beta from the Play Store and will be delaying the launch until further notice to work with Sunbird to fix several bugs.
We apologise for the delay and will do right by our users.
— Nothing (@nothing) November 18, 2023
In a teardown of the app, 9to5google pointed out that Nothing Chats does not have end-to-end encryption, and found that attachments sent by other users could easily be accessed in plain text. The findings added support to concerns voiced by others that Sunbird uses HTTP instead of HTTPS. Kishan Bagaria, founder of Texts.com, called it out as “extremely insecure” and said further investigation from his team showed “all outgoing texts are being leaked to a sentry server in plaintext.”
On X, Nothing didn’t directly address the privacy issues but said it’s working with Sunbird to “fix several bugs” and “will do right by our users.” Nothing Chats was announced on November 14, and the beta hit the Play Store on Friday.