Texting turns 20 today, and it’s still kicking

text messagin has turned 20 sms texting main

“Merry Christmas” was the first text message ever sent. Neil Papworth sent it from his PC to Richard Jarvis’s Orbitel 901 mobile handset (as big as a modern office phone), and thus the text message was born. Twenty years ago from today the first text message was sent and thus began the revolution in mobile communication we know and love. The text message, and the many technologies created from the wake of its revolutionary concept, has reshaped communication in the last two decades.

The idea behind the text message got its start in the 1980s as the development of the mobile phone was in full swing. While the idea of voice communication was already standardized under the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) banner, the idea of a textual message had yet to be completely finalized. On December 3, 1992, Papworth sent the text message to Jarvis and set the standard we use to communicate to this very day. The text message has since become an essential part our lives, it’s short length forcing us to embracing the contraction of our language into even smaller bits and pieces more than ever before. It paved the way for the idea of Twitter – an instant, short, messaging concept – to take hold in the last four years and changed just how we communicate with all of our gadgets. Over time, new services, such as MultiMedia Messaging (MMS) have also come along to continue to rewire how we deliver information to one another from our phones. We have become an instant communication world, and the text message played a fundamental part in this evolution. 

These days, text messaging has found its place as the go-to method of text communication challenged by services ranging from Apple’s iMessage. RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger, and Facebook. Because of these technologies, text messaging is on the decline, and we’re sending less texts a month – about only 678 a month, according to Chetan Sharma Consulting. While this news is certainly not good for the messaging standard, an impressive 70 billion texts are still sent every month, a massive increase from the 2 or 3 billion being sent just a decade ago.

The evolution of the text message may continue and the technology will likely change  as data-based services like iMessage, BBM, and Facebook continue to grow in popularity, but it still stands an essential part of our mobile experience just like the talking on the phone. We have it all to thank the text message for – and 160 characters just doesn’t do it justice.

Emerging Tech

Twitter is officially a teenager now. Are we raising a monster?

On March 21, 2006, Jack Dorsey sent the first ever tweet. Thirteen years later, Twitter has fundamentally changed the way we communicate. Here are some of the myriad ways it's done that.

This is the easiest way to save your iPhone data to your computer

Living in fear of losing your contacts, photos, messages, and notes on your iPhone? Fear no more -- in this guide, we'll break down exactly how to back up your iPhone to your computer using Apple's iTunes or to the cloud with iCloud.
Social Media

Facebook Messenger adds quoted replies to better organize group chats

Facebook is rolling out a feature that should help make group chats a whole lot more organized. The feature allows you to reply to specific messages within a group chat, so others will be able to tell what you're replying to.

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.

Fossil is working on a smartwatch with BMW, and it’s coming next year

Fossil, the watch company that makes smartwatches under its own name and partners with other major brands too, intends to launch a smartwatch with car manufacturer BMW in the future.
Social Media

A Facebook, Instagram bug exposed millions of passwords to its employees

Facebook, Facebook Lite, and Instagram passwords weren't properly encrypted and could be viewed by employees, the company said Thursday. The network estimates millions of users were affected.

Diesel’s denim-inspired smartwatch straps are a casual, colorful must-own

Diesel will release two new versions of the On Full Guard 2.5 smartwatch later this year, with seriously cool, denim-inspired straps in classic Diesel colors. We tried them on at the Baselworld 2019 show.
Movies & TV

Apple’s next big event is set for March 25: Here’s what you can expect

Apple's next big event takes place on March 25 in Cupertino, California. The company is expected to make several announcements related to its services, including Apple TV, so follow our guide to get ready for the big event.

Tips and tricks to get you started with your new Fitbit Inspire HR

The Inspire HR may be an entry-level fitness tracker in Fitbit's lineup, but the device still has plenty of features to explore. These are our favorite tips and tricks to help you use the Inspire HR to its fullest potential.

How three simple words could be the difference between life and death

What3Words’ app-based address system gives a three-word code to every three-meter-square patch on the planet, with its accuracy and ease of use now catching the attention of first responders in the U.K.

The Moto G7 Power, with its massive battery, is now available for purchase

After a number of leaks and rumors, the Motorola Moto G7, Moto G7 Play, and Moto G7 Power are finally here. The devices represent quite a spec bump over the previous-generation Moto G6 phones, yet still come at a reasonable price.

Got gadgets galore? Keep them charged up with the 10 best USB-C cables

We're glad to see that USB-C is quickly becoming the norm. That's why we've rounded up some of the better USB-C cables on the market, whether you're looking to charge or sync your smartphone. We've got USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A.

Get ready to say goodbye to some IFTTT support in Gmail by March 31

If This Then That, the popular automation service, will drop some of its support for Gmail by March 31. The decision comes as a response to security concerns and is aimed to protect user data.

5G's arrival is transforming tech. Here's everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.