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Is SMS Going Away? Or Is It Becoming Generic?

SMS, the texting service found on mobile phones, which now has connectivity making its way into the landline and desktop world is rumored to be going away. Well, I think rumors of its decline are not being properly portrayed as mobile operator based SMS will decline due to one reason. Alternatives that offer more, but go away? No way.

Let's look at what's out there that's taking traffic away from the mobile operators:

1. BlackBerry Messenger-Teens who text love their BlackBerry devices. Why? The keyboard makes it easier to text fast and furiously. Since it works cross-border at no added messaging cost, it makes it a winner.

2. Google Voice-free texting, delivery via SMS, to the Google Voice apps and by email. Plus, you can archive the messages in your account on Google.

3. iMessage-Apple's over the top service. All your connected devices (Macs, iPod, iPads, iPhones) get your messages making it easy. If two people are on iOS or Apple devices then the messages bypass the mobile operator and go direct over the data side.

4. WhatsApp-perhaps the biggest SMS alternative service. Works cross border, allows sending of voice notes (like BBM), share photos and more. 

5. GroupMe-purchased by Skype. Biggest plus is exactly what its name is. Group texting. Why didn't the carriers offer this years ago?

6. Twitter-sure you can SMS to and from Twitter, and in the days of unlimited SMS, why not. But with more robust features in apps and web browsers, why bother. Add in Facebook too for community reasons.

7. Failure to advance. Lack of evolution.

Perhaps the most telling reason. SMS is 20 years old. It took a long time before networks became interoperable. No simple desktop integration or gateway services led to Instant Messaging taking hold faster. Today, MMS is a limited use service, even with people sending and sharing photos and vidoes, largely due to expense. SMS is still what it was when it launched. Yes, useful, but only for what it was designed for.


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