SMS celebrates 20th birthday

neil_papeworth_first_smsOn December 3, 1992 an UK engineer, Neil Papworth, sent the first short message service (SMS) with the message "Merry Christmas." Now it has been 20 years of text messaging. Although it was Papworth who sent the first message, text messaging was an idea proposed by a Nokia engineer Matti Makkonen in1984.

The first message was sent from a computer. At that time, messages could only be received on phones but can’t be sent from phone or replied. It took quite some time for SMS to actually been adopted by larger mass. In 2007 28.9 billion text messages were sent in a month in the US. The amount in June this year is 184.3 billion according to CTIA mobile trade group.

Before mobile phones were smart enough to send emails and instant messages, SMS was the only means of text communication. But, with the increase in the popularity of smartphones less people are using SMS for communication. Popularity of Facebook chat, Twitter, iMessage, BBM, Google Talk, Skype and similar services. Twitter says that it was inspired by SMS and like SMSs 160 character limit, Twitter limits it’s posts to be a maximum of 140-character long. And, it’s truly mobile as some 60 percent of Twitter users access the service through mobile phone.

While wishing Happy Birthday to SMS, it seems, the time to mourn for it’s demise also seems to be near. SMS sure did have glorious two decades!


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