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Happy 20th Birthday to SMS!

by Todd Haselton | December 3, 2012December 3, 2012 12:30 pm PST

Text-message (1)

The text message (SMS) turns 20 today, and we’d like to wish it a very happy birthday. The first text message, if you’re unaware, was sent 20 years ago today by Matti Makkonen, the “father of the SMS,” according to BBC, and it has come a long, long way. SMS communications, like a child who grows, has become more mature and usable than ever. We’ve even moved beyond SMS to MMS for sending pictures and video, and even on to other solutions such as BBM, iMessage and even straight-up chat clients.

So what did the first SMS say? “Merry Christmas.” And it was sent from a computer to a mobile phone.

The BBC recently interviewed Makkonen, via SMS of course, in which he gave some insight toward how he uses the service today. He said he’s passionate about using the full 160 characters and that he doesn’t like the silly abbreviations we all use today. Instead, he prefers to write properly in Finnish, his native language. He doesn’t think SMS will exist in its current form in another 20 years, and believes that chat clients and free services will dominate in the future. We have to agree, especially since new services such as iMessage are faster and deliver read receipts and more.

Makkonen argues that SMS actually took off later, in 1994 when Nokia launched the 2010, a phone that was capable of sending and receiving SMS texts.

As for the future? Makkonen seems to suggest Google’s Project Glass could be the next big thing, since he wants a way to view texts on his glasses.

[via BBC]

Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...