December 3, 2012 5:10 AM | By Ben Griffin, contributor, MSN Tech
Twenty years of texting: History of the SMS

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Twenty years ago today on Dec. 3, 1992 a fairly ordinary text message that read "Merry Christmas" was sent from a personal computer (phones back then didn't have keyboards, remember) to a mobile phone.

In any other circumstance this would be anything but riveting. This, however, was no ordinary occasion — it was actually the first ever text message the world had ever seen.

A 22-year-old British engineer named Neil Papworth of Sema Group, an Anglo-French IT services company, sent the text on its digital journey to Vodafone director (at the time) Richard Jarvis — who was out at a Christmas party — and his Orbitel 901 mobile, a man later bestowed with the task of persuading manufacturers to adopt the SMS technology.

At the time, Papworth was completely unaware of the significance of his message and the revolution it would cause in the mobile world. As he explained at the 15th anniversary of the SMS: "We thought SMS was a clever way for a company's staff to send simple messages to one another. I'd never have predicted that it would spread into the consumer world and become what it is today."

Need a new mobile to get texting on? Then check out the best smartphones that money can buy
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