The text message celebrates its 25th birthday today

The very first text message was sent on this date 25 years ago. On December 3rd, 1992, an engineer by the name of Neil Papworth sent the words "merry Christmas" from his PC to a cellphone owned by Vodafone director Richard Jarvis. And from that humble beginnings, a quarter of a century later, we are now living in a world where billions of messages are texted each month.

Before smartphones became a must own piece of hardware, the majority of mobile phone users were sporting feature phones that required tapping the dialer multiple times just to produce a letter on the screen. This so called T9 system (which stands for Text on 9 keys) made writing texts an arduous task. While smartphones were available with physical QWERTY keyboards (like BlackBerry models, the Moto Q, Palm Treo and others) feature phones continued to outship smartphones until the first quarter of 2013.

In June 2000, 12 million text messages were being sent each month in the U.S. By June 2006, that figure was up to 12.5 billion and rose to 45 billion average monthly texts sent in June 2007. That was the month when the Apple iPhone was launched. Two years later, 161 billion text messages were sent in the states during an average month. By June 2017, that number reached reached an astronomical 781 billion messages.

As popular as texting is, the popularity of the smartphone and the use of mobile apps has made messaging apps and social media apps a very strong challenger to SMS.  Apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and iMessage allow users to do more than just send and receive texts. WhatsApp by itself was responsible for sending 55 billion apps per day this past July!

So we wish a Happy 25th Birthday to text messages. SMS is getting long in the tooth, and it might be a little outdated compared to competing messaging apps. But for now it is still the best alternative for those who can't get a smartphone, or live in an area with sketchy wireless networks.

source: Engadget

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10 Comments

1. darkkjedii

Posts: 30966; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

When I first discovered it, I thought it was so cool.

3. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

Remember in the late 90's when pagers had it. Thought I was the isht for not having to turn my pager upside down.

7. darkkjedii

Posts: 30966; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Heck yeah.

2. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

Pretty good read. People forget in early 2000 before it became a feature on the phone you had to call an 800 number or log onto your company's website & type it yourself.

4. Babadook

Posts: 230; Member since: May 24, 2016

"a little outdated"........it's EXTREMELY out dated.

5. Johnnokia

Posts: 1158; Member since: May 27, 2012

*Some Text Missing* The ones who didn't get this message have already missed an amazing life chapter!

6. Rafishant

Posts: 395; Member since: Oct 13, 2015

OMG Nokia message alert... Shed tears Thank god I witnessed that generation... Born 1983

9. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

"No space for new messages"

8. sun0066

Posts: 266; Member since: Feb 12, 2011

The first sms that I sent was to myself in 1996 in an small Nokia phone and I was amazed Actually that was in att The first Treo that was around 2002 in sprint didn't have a dedicated app for it so it was web based Sms from Samsung has more utility that in the iPhone ,mainly because you can same files to everyone,no what happens in Imessage that is iOS restricted , Imessage for certains files Long life to the sms !

11. Andrewtst

Posts: 696; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

The last birthday for Text Message ???!?

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