By Zachary M. Seward — December 2, 2012
  The very first text message was sent 20 years ago, on Dec. 3, 1992. The momentous missive? “Merry Christmas,” wrote Neil Papworth, then a 22-year-old engineer, to Richard Jarvis, an executive at British telecom Vodafone. Jarvis was attending his company’s holiday party in Newbury, England, and received the text on an Orbitel 901, which looks like this: Orbitel 901 To be precise, this marks the 20th birthday of SMS, which stands for Short Messaging Service. In most cases, an SMS is sent from one phone to another on a narrow slice of cellular bandwidth called the control channel, an ever-present connection that’s also used to notify phones of incoming calls and signal strength. That’s one reason why SMS has proven to be a...