The text message celebrates its 25th birthday today
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.
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 SMS is getting long in the tooth, and it might be a little outdated compared to competing messaging apps.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.