Google Messages Now Supports Android’s Ultra HDR Image Format in RCS Messages

Aiman Maulana
3 Min Read
Google Messages Now Supports Android’s Ultra HDR Image Format in RCS Messages

In a subtle yet noteworthy development, Google has quietly integrated support for Android’s latest Ultra HDR Image Format within Google Messages when exchanging messages over RCS (Rich Communication Services). This addition ensures that images sent in this format via RCS maintain their metadata integrity and are accurately displayed on the recipient’s device.

Google Messages Gets Support for Ultra HDR in RCS Messages

Google Messages Now Supports Android's Ultra HDR Image Format in RCS Messages

The discovery of this feature was made by TheSpAndroid, who identified the inclusion of the “bugle.support_ultra_hdr” flag inside the Google Messages APK. Subsequent testing, conducted through crowd collaboration, verified that the feature operates seamlessly on Google Pixel 8 devices when sending images through RCS.

The Ultra HDR Image Format, introduced in Android 14, represents a variant of the traditional JPEG format. It encodes a logarithmic range gain map image in the metadata, providing devices with HDR displays the capability to showcase images with an expanded dynamic range, featuring brighter highlights and enhanced shadow details. On devices lacking metadata support, the base JPEG image is displayed in standard dynamic range.

Google had incorporated support for this feature in September, preceding the launch of the Pixel 8 series, which became the first Android devices to capture images in this advanced format. While older Pixel models cannot capture images in this format, they can still display Ultra HDR images as intended.

Despite this technological leap, broader industry adoption is yet to materialize. Manufacturers such as OnePlus and OPPO have implemented their versions of this feature, named ProXDR, with incompatible metadata. Apple, with a similar feature dating back to the iPhone X, utilizes its distinct metadata that does not align with Google’s standard.

For the widespread success of this technology, a consensus among companies is imperative, especially within the Android ecosystem. While Apple has pledged support for RCS, the adoption of Google’s standard seems unlikely. Harmonizing these formats will be crucial to ensuring seamless interoperability and optimal user experience across devices. As the industry evolves, collaboration among tech giants becomes increasingly essential to establishing unified standards.

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Pokdepinion: I don’t think I’d ever imagine myself transferring such photos this way as I would still use some form of cloud storage for it. I’m sure someone out there would make good use of Google Messages like this regardless.

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