Not too long ago, the advent of text messaging made life in the digital age easier and cheaper. SMS or short message service is a text messaging component of mobile phone communicating systems that allow the exchange of short text messages between a fixed line or mobile phone devices. SMS text messaging is the most widely accepted and used data application in the world, with 2.4 billion active users or 74% of all mobile phone users.
But if there is one thing wonderful about technology, is that it evolves into something better every day.
Research in Motion, the Canadian global telecommunications company, introduced Blackberry into the market in 1999. Its most popular feature to date is a proprietary internet-based instant messenger application called BlackBerry Messenger or simply called BBM. BBM lets users of BlackBerry send messages, pictures, video and other media to each other, virtually for free. Users have a predetermined PIN that they can share to other BBM users to add as contacts. It uses the phones network data or Wi-Fi connected to the internet. Exchanging messages is also possible for multiple users in a single chat room. BBM now boasts a staggering 39 million users worldwide, short to gaining a cult-like following.
However, BBM only works between BlackBerry phones. Enter WhatsApp. WhatsApp is also an instant messaging app popular among smart phone users because it works across all smart phone platforms. It also runs over your cell phone’s data network or over Wi-Fi.
With the growing clamor for its own company-exclusive instant messaging system, Apple recently released iMessage as one of the new 200 applications with its newest operating system—the iOS 5. Pretty much like BBM, iMessage is an iOS-only messaging client that works on all iDevices, including the iPhone and the iPad. It allows you to send text, photos, videos, contacts and group broadcasts to other iDevice users that run on iOS 5. But unlike BBM, iMessage does not give out PINs, but rather uses the ability to detect if a certain number or email is associated with a compatible device before letting you use the app.
With this, many are already predicting the death of SMS. Or at least its eventual demise. In his article for tech site techcrunch.com, Greg Kumparak noted October 12, 2011 as the day that SMS began to die, coinciding with the same day Apple released iMessage. “SMS won’t go away completely, just as e-mail hasn’t entirely killed snail mail — it’ll just be a sad shell of its former self,” Kumparak notes.
According to a report by research group Mobile Youth, young people between the ages of 15 to 24 are increasingly abandoning SMS in favor of instant messaging apps. They go on by saying that SMS will decline at least 20% in the next two years.
Whether or not SMS will die an eventual death, is not for technology to decid e, but for the consumers who will likely need to choose in the future between which would be cheaper and more accessible.
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