TECH
12/04/2012 02:42 pm ET

Texting Facts: 20 Surprising Things You Didn't Know About The SMS

Texting turned 20 on Monday. That's right: SMS (Short Messaging Service), which we still use to relay our OMGs and LOLs, is older than Justin Bieber.

Developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, an organization that grew to regulate the burgeoning mobile phone industry before the coming of the European Union, SMS capability was bundled into the makings of the European (and later American) mobile phone system in the early 90's. The first SMS text was sent eight years after Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen first proposed the SMS in concept -- not exactly a stellar turnaround time. What took so long? In the ETSI's defense, it isn't exactly known for its research-to-product pipeline, and in the years between 1984 (SMS proposed) and 1992 (first SMS sent), an entire mobile phone network had to be built to, you know, enable mobile calling, as well as SMS services.

Now, 20 years after that first text message ("Merry Christmas," sent by engineer Neil Papworth to Vodafone executive Richard Jarvis), the popularity of SMS is soaring. In the U.K., for example, researchers found that in 2011, texting was more popular than voice calling, especially among youths aged 16 to 24, per the BBC.

Yes, SMS has staying power. Despite popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and video messaging services like Skype, the humble SMS has stuck around for two decades. Do you think you'll be able to say the same for your shiny, new Android mobile?

Texting Facts

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