Text messaging (SMS) on your mobile has come a long way, but is the end in sight?

It was not that long ago that you could only send text messages to people on the same network as yourself!  Finally the networks all agreed to talk with each other and low costs were introduced, quickly followed by text bundles.  International texting also arrived.  This has resulted in the UK sending around 300 million texts every day, yes every day!

However, the advent of the smart phone has introduced an alternative.  Blackberry were arguably the first to seize on the idea of instant messaging using their own framework rather than the mobile phone networks  -- BB Messenger.  When the iPhone arrived there was a flurry of messaging apps but the one that seems to have won the battle is 'WhatsApp'.  Both send messages instantly using the data network and do not have the same limitations in size as standard text messages; images, videos, and audio can all be sent.

Of the two, WA was the first to be multi-platform -- iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia.  So you could send a WA message to anyone running the WA software on a variety of devices.  BBM on the other hand was restricted to any Blackberry.  It was recently revealed that BBM wuld be available for the iPhone, therefore vastly increasing the coverage for their messaging service.

Early in 2011 Apple announced iMessage; it will be built into the next release of the mobile operating system (iOS 5), expected for release in September 2011.  As far as we know iMessage will only work as a messaging service between iPhone,  iPad and the iPod touch.

So where does this leave the consumer?  WhatsApp is becoming more unstable as time goes on (this week has seen two serious system failures for several hours each time).  BBM seems to be in no rush to extend it's reach.  iMessage might be too restrictive even if Apple do have a massive iOS market.

Cue Samsung's  announcement  of 'Chat On (Ch@t On)', coming soon!  A multi-platform instant messaging service available on  Samsung's own Bada mobile operating system, Android,  iOS and BlackBerry.

With Facebook also recently announcing a dedicated messaging service (currently only available in the USA), the market is becoming increasingly crowded.

One thing is for sure, text messaging days a numbered.  Samsung may be on to a winner with the multi-platform offering but only time will tell who wins.

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