You wouldn’t be texting your friends if it weren’t for Matti Makkonen. Matti Makkonen, "the father of SMS" has died today at 63, and it is a sad day for the world, and especially sad for the smartphone world.
It was during 1984 when Matti pitched the idea of sending textual messages over cellular networks. This was the pitch by the Finnish creator that got the ball rolling for many different technological advances. Yes, that also means that you wouldn’t be able to use WhatsApp if this wasn’t invented.
Though most of the credit does belong to Matti Makkonen, he saw the whole SMS thing as a joint effort between Friedham Hillebrand (creator of the 160 character format in 1985) and others.
Even though there are other apps that utilise instant messaging that are taking over, it can be said that the SMS has given them the boost they needed to reach where they are now.
And it’s not just the text messaging, the entire Twitter social network is based on the SMS’s principles. Hence the 140 character limit. And make no mistake, the SMS is still a vital mode of communication in the areas where either the mobile internet is too expensive, or heavily censored by the government.
Needless to say, SMS is still connecting people and Matti Makkonen will be a sadly missed mind. To show just how much of a forward thinker he was, an interviewer once asked him if he has any other big ideas for the future. Matti Makkonen responded with, "Not my idea but integration of mobile content display to my eyeglasses would be nice. Maybe someone is working with it?"