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SMS turns 20 today!

The SMS turns 20 this year.

The first ever text message was sent by engineer Neil Papworth from his personal computer to Vodafone’s Richard Jarvis in December 1992 which read: “Merry Christmas”. But nearly 20 years after its advent there’s a growing belief that the short messaging service or SMS is losing out to IMs and tweets.

Nearly four billion people across the globe use SMS but it appears that the volume of texts sent as SMS has undergone decline, according to a report by media watchdog Ofcom.

While smartphones might be popular in Europe and the US, not everyone in owns a smartphone in countries like China and India where features phones are still in vogue.

The first commercial SMS services started in 1993 in Sweden, followed by US and UK in the same year. In 1994, Nokia announced the Nokia 2110, which the Finnish company claims to be its first SMS-enabled GSM phone but its predecessor the Nokia 1011 could also send and receive SMS messages.

The number of text messages sent in Britain peaked at 39.7 billion at the end of last year, but it is now down to 38.5 billion, following two quarterly declines.

But there’s no doubt that with the rise of smartphones, and apps such as Whatsapp, Google Talk, BBM (for instant messaging) etc, the traditional SMS will face a tough battle. The fact is that apps like Whatsapp, Google Talk, are free unlike an SMS which still costs a nominal fee.

And thanks to the culture of Twitter,  people often tweet out what’s on their mind rather than send an SMS to friends.

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