The SMS, or text message, is seeing its last days and I sure am glad. Google is reportedly working on its own version of iMessage or BBM for Android. This means users will be able to send text and multimedia messages to each other, globally, without incurring messaging costs from the carriers. If true, I’m thrilled that carriers will have to find new ways to gouge its customers for nickels and dimes.
For consumers, these new apps will offer faster and cheaper integrated ways to message friends. But the outlook is less rosy for carriers, who will likely see their lucrative text messaging revenue take a major dip. The messaging apps will move texting-like activity into cellular data networks and out of carrier’s aging SMS networks.
To date, the rate at which carriers charge for SMS plans, and even per-message rates, are astronomically high. A few years ago, the government inquired as to why SMS rates were so expensive, and the carriers really couldn’t come up with a viable excuse. But with apps like iMessage, BBM, Kik, WhatsApp and now possibly an Android version of the aforementioned apps, carriers won’t have to.
The Wall Street Journal says that for Android, Google “has also recently worked on a messaging application, a person familiar with the matter said.”
Additionally, with free messaging apps and numerous chat clients available on multiple smartphone platforms, more users are finding it easier to cut down on their messaging plans in favor of free alternatives. Some might even say that SMS is antiquated and annoying.
I, for one, can’t wait much longer for the death of the SMS. It served its purpose, and it still does when a carrier’s data network is down, but it’s time to move on. With AIM, GTalk, Facebook Chat, BBM, Kik, Skype and more handily available and free, paying even a penny per message makes absolutely no sense at all.
Like Phil, Bradley Cooper’s character in The Hangover, says in his voicemail greeting, “Leave me a message, or don’t. Oh, do me a favor and don’t text me. It’s gay.”