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Text Messaging

Text messaging has become the standard level of communication in today’s society. This is a feature that has developed from being a favorite of the tech-savvy to people all over the world. It has allowed people to operate more efficiently, independently, and quite directly. For example, if you are late to work, these days you just have to text your boss to let them know. If you’re in a meeting or taking a class and an emergency arises, through text messaging you can know instantly. When you need a simple “yes” or “no” answer you can ask through a quick text.

Today there have been trillions of texts that have been sent through this seemingly simple method of communication. SMS stands for short message service more commonly referred to as texting. It is a method of communicating where cellphones communicate between each other or through a computer.

These messages are generally short and a maximum length of 160 characters that include numbers, letters, or even symbols of the Latin alphabet. This concept of communication was developed in 1984 by the GSM Franco-German cooperative by Bernard Ghillebaert and Friedhelm Hillebrand. 1992 is when the first text message was sent by Neil Papworth. He was a former developer at Sema Group Telecoms. There was a time when mobile phones didn’t have keyboards, so early on messages were typed on a PC. Richard Jarvis at Vodafone successfully received Papworth’s text of “Merry Christmas”. Early GSM handsets for mobile phones did not have the capability to send text messages. For cellphones the first SMS for cellphones were network notifications that originally informed of voice mail messages that were pending.

In 1993, Nokia manufactured a GSM phone line that supported sending SMS text messages. Later in 1997, they became the first to produce mobile phones with a full keyboard. That phone was known as the 9000i Communicator by Nokia.

Initially, SMS growth was very slow just like any new type of technology. On average, users only sent 0.4 texts each month in early 1995. To better accommodate with SMS, networks and phones were able to adapt. By 1999 texts were able to be exchanged within different networks. This began to increase the usefulness. Later in the year 2000, the average number of SMS messages that were sent increased to a per person ration of 35 per month.

Early on the most common commercial texting method was known as “multi-tap”. Every number on the phone was connected to a group of letters. As an example, the number 3 key is connected to the D, E, and F letters. While this method wasn’t very efficient, it was easy to comprehend.

Today, we have virtual keyboards. The technology has advanced to spell check with correction as well as predictive text technology. It also has the ability to learn new words. The keys were sized larger and the keyboard was adaptable to the width of the phone. This is based on the vertical or landscape orientation. The standardized feature for smartphones today is the virtual keyboard.