The advent of “texting” continues to transform human communication, even causing the emergence of a new vernacular based on abbreviations, acronyms, and emoticons. The activity’s popularity has shaped the development of novel mobile platforms meant to facilitate text messaging efficiency, accuracy, and speed. And while the term texting originally referred to communication of text by Short Messaging Service (SMS), the term has broadened to include the transmission of various multimedia (i.e. images, sounds, and movies). Different manufacturers have diverged in their approach to the development of mobile technology to facilitate the rapidly evolving needs of an increasingly tech savvy population. As such, it is important to engage in discourse about the comparative benefits of the various texting platforms in order to drive production appropriately.
The iPhone is the most prominent example of a generation of phones characterized by full touchscreen control without a distinct, physical keyboard. As is typical of any Apple product, the iPhone’s text messaging platform is aesthetically pleasing. The display is meant to simulate a conversation visually by distinguishing messages from each individual engaged in the text conversation by color and position on the screen. The “predictive text” feature was included to promote increased speed of messaging by eliminating the need to type in entire words or phrases. Unique to the iPhone and other Apple products is the ability to iMessage: this form of text and multimedia conversation is not subject to the same mobile carrier constraints as conventional text messaging. Moreover, “iMessaging” allows a group of individuals to communicate with each other to form a sort of text and multimedia conference. Inherent in the need to use a touchscreen to text message, however, is a relative increase in the susceptibility to typing errors caused by the proximity of the letters on the keyboard and the imprecision of the the phone’s tactile interpretation.
Research In Motion (RIM), on the other hand, manufactures the BlackBerry line of phones, several models of which continue to employ a distinct, physical keyboard. This particular feature is a point of attraction for a considerable group of “texters” who will cite a lower susceptibility to texting error. BlackBerry instant messaging, or BBM, is similar to iMessaging in its restriction to BlackBerry users. However, BBM users may take advantage of the ability to communicate internationally at no additional charge. You can’t count on these services during BlackBerry outages, of course, but BlackBerry service is generally very reliable. While various texting platforms offer unique benefits, a consumer’s ultimate choice must rely on personal preference.