One of the more popular apps in the iOS world is iMessage, Apple’s proprietary messaging platform. Although Apple has very recently started to look at expanding support for their apps outside of iOS, iMessage is unlikely to be close to the top of the list as it can be very effective at keeping people locked into Apple’s ecosystem. If you are an Android user and have a spare computer lying around running OS X that can function as a server, a new open source project called PieMessage may bring iMessage support to your Android device.
The GitHub project for PieMessage, built by developer Eric Chee, includes both the clients and servers needed to install on an OS X “server” as well as the Android client to run on your mobile device. The system is designed so the Android client sends a message to a “server” running on a Mac where an Applescript will then pass the messages back and forth with the Messages app running on the computer.
Chee notes that he used a custom API, so it should be possible for developers to build clients for other platforms like Windows. Also, since PieMessage is still very much a work in progress, there are some issues with sending group messages although receiving them seems to work fine.
In the past there have been a variety of attempts to build clients for iMessage outside of the Apple ecosystem. Typically they have used third-party servers for processing, which creates security concerns for many. They also found themselves in Apple’s crosshairs and were shutdown in short order. Since this solution relies on users making use of their own hardware and their own copy of OS X, it may be a little more palatable for Apple. Nevertheless, it probably would not be a surprise to see Apple make a move to patch or change either OS X, Applescript or the Messages client on OS X to break the capabilities revealed by the PieMessage project.