Antonio Manaytay – Fourth Estate Contributor
Miami, FL, United States (4E) – At a time when free instant messaging was not yet uses, the 160-character text messaging reigns, but its use had steeply declined in 2012 after its glory days in the 1990s and 2000s. It is not yet dead but its future looks uncertain and bleak in a generation hooked to alternative messaging such as BBM, Skype, Viber, and WhatsApp.
Here’s what to know about the text (or SMS) messaging.
1. The first text message belongs to Neil Papworth, sent on December 3, 1992, in the United Kingdom. It was not sent via a mobile phone but via Vodafone network carrying the message, “Merry Christmas” while Papworth, a communication engineer, was at a party.
2. Text messaging had reached the peak of 7.4 trillion sent text messages in 2011 and had on its free fall starting in 2012 as more users began to use free IM.
3. In 1993, Nokia had produced the first SMS capable mobile phones. At the time, most GSM mobile phones were not SMS capable.
Text messaging, however, was developed in the 1980s long before the arrival of mobile phones. The French and German standard agencies had pioneered the SMS messaging by adding it to what later known as the standard of GSM telephony.
From GSM, text messaging was incorporated into new technology standards – the 3G and 4G but the shift of standards was not enough to secure the SMS base. The arrival of smartphones with all its more advanced applications had also ushered in new ways to send messages beyond the limits of 160 characters.
It has been argued that the 160-character limit had contributed to the decline of its usage. But the reason for the decline goes beyond the perceived consumers’ frustration over the 160-character limit. In fact, when users can go beyond the 160 characters the decline continued because more and more people had greater access to free instant messaging in platforms.
SMS messaging is not dead yet. Its future, however, is bleak and some people might consider it a thing of antiquity sooner or later.
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