20 years on, is texting on the way out?

Dec. 3, 2012 at 5:01 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Twenty years after the world's first text message was sent -- reading "Merry Christmas" -- texting technology may be on the way out, U.S. analysts say.

Text messages face stiff competition as people with smartphones increasingly turn to email, instant messaging and other mobile messaging services to communicate, they said.

"Texting isn't evolving, therefore it's declining," Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, told ABC News. "There are way too many alternatives like iMessage, BBM, Facebook chat and Google Chat that are cross-platform [so] texting is a backup now for sophisticated users. Texting is more reliable but is declining as a primary tool."

On Dec. 3, 1992, a British engineer working on a project for Vodafone, a European cellular carrier, hit the "send" button on the world's first short message service, or SMS.

"It happened that day that Vodafone wanted to try sending a message to Richard Jarvis, one of the directors there, who was at a Christmas party," engineer Neil Papworth said. "So we sat at the computer and typed him a message and then sent him the message 'Merry Christmas,'"

"For me it was just another day's testing, it didn't seem to be anything big at the time."

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