World's first text message sent 25 years ago today
04 December, 2017, 08:39
On 3rd Dec 1992, British software engineer Neil Papworth, who was then just 22 years old, had sent the first text message from a computer to his colleague Richard Jarvis in the UK.
Today is the anniversary of the first SMS (short message service), which simply said "Merry Christmas".
It took a while for texting to catch on. These apps are constantly evolving and have much more to offer than a simple text.
There was a decline of 25%-40% in texting after networks started charging for SMS, but it soon gained more traction - reaching 2.4 billion active users, 74% of all mobile phone subscribers. Over 561 billion text messages were sent worldwide according to the stats of June 2014, while around 18.7 billion messages sent every day, as stated by a researcher of TextRequest.
And perhaps because they missed that initial adoption, Americans still don't add the customary "x" at the end of a message.
But, as Elixabeth Bruton, who works at the Science Museum, points out, it was incredibly important. December 3 marks 25 years since mobile telephones moved beyond mere audio.
A year later, the first commercial SMS service was available in Finland, and Nokia became the first company to release a handset capable of sending text messages. So SMS can be considered the first step towards the modern smartphone.
When Twitter launched in July 2006, it borrowed SMS's 140 character limit.
That also marked a more fundamental shift, away from an open standard which anyone could use (even if your operator charged you) to closed messaging systems controlled by technology giants. Moreover, the emergence of SMS has given a big boost to emojis and messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram, which are used by millions.
It was sent over the Vodafone GSM network in the United Kingdom, though back then handsets could only receive messages, not send them.
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