Long Live the Text!

By: Ian Ball

Mobile phones are moving into new grounds and bringing us greater features than ever before. The most exciting of these features is the easy and instant access to the internet or WAP. There is a great expectation for what WAP will allow on mobile phones including instant messaging and email. Speculation is beginning as to the future of the lowly text message with such an exciting alternative.

Text messages have no need for alarm, however. They aren't going anywhere.

For those slower on the advent of mobile technology, text messaging may seem as though it was just invented. However, with the rate technology moves in our modern times, text messaging is almost ancient. Some ancient things still have value, and text messaging is one of them.

Text messaging is easy. Sending a text message is almost as easy as making a phone call, and in some cases simpler than that. Text messages are short bursts of information that can be replied to instantly and silently. It is easy enough for those without a great deal of background knowledge and experience in computers or handhelds to be able to use and not feel intimidated.

Text messaging is already established. Text messages have been around long enough to already be established. They are used with great frequency and most mobile phone tariffs automatically include text messages along with voice minutes. Many phones don't yet accept WAP or the internet, and those that do are a bit expensive for the casual mobile phone user. Text messaging was here first, and a lot of people are already using it. They won't be switching any time soon.

Text messaging is cheaper. With text messages already included in a basic phone plan, it is cheaper than using WAP. Internet access almost always requires an additional monthly fee, and that fee is not small. Text messages are almost free with certain plans.

Text messaging is faster. Until a phone savvy individual learns their way around the WAP as well as they do their standard messages, text messaging will be faster. Sending a short phrase via text takes less time than typing a full email regardless.

In short, text messaging is already here and being used by most mobile phone users. WAP is exciting and new, but won't replace text messaging any more than mobile phones have replaced landlines.

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