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For the first time in its history the humble text message is in decline.

It may be the most generic, simple, and completely connected messaging service for mobile devices but it seems we are choosing to communicate differently.

The Text Message (or SMS) first appeared in December 1992 when Neil Papworth, an engineer at Vodafone, sent a Christmas greeting to a company director. Although it was not sent using a mobile device, it did use the mobile network. Nokia produced the first mobile phone with an alphabetic keyboard the following year and the texting phenomena began.

In the early days you could only send a message to people on the same mobile network, however this quickly changed as the carriers saw the commercial value in the service. In 2001 we were sending over 1 billion messages a month in the UK.

In 2013 it is estimated we sent 152bn messages in the UK -- an impressive number, however this is actually a fall of 7bn from the previous year. The first time texting numbers have decreased!

The drop is of course due to the instant messaging services at out disposal. Blackberry were first with their BBM tool in 2006 but others soon followed. WhatsApp, Apple's iMessage, Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts are just a few examples of the alternatives. Each offer greater flexibility and richer messaging features -- usually at zero cost.

It is estimated that the UK will send 300bn instant messages in 2014 and texting will continue to drop.

What's your favourite service?

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