Mobile Future

Why 160 is enough

Springsteen,
Madonna

Way before
Nirvana

There was U2 and
Blondie

And music still on
MTV

                        Bowling for Soup,
"1985"
 

It turns out that the most memorable event in 1985 isn’t
Bret Saberhagen’s shut-out of the Cards in the World Series’ Game 7.  Instead, it happened about 4,500
miles away at a home in Bonn, Germany.
 
That year, according to the Los Angeles Times, a
technologist named Friedhelm Hillebrand was part of a team developing plans to
standardize text messaging technology. 
The tight bandwidth constraints meant that each message would have to be
as short as possible.  So Hillebrand
started typing random thoughts on his typewriter.  As these comments always came in at under 160
characters, this became the standard limit for texts.
 
Networks and consumer attitudes have both come a long way
since then.  By the end of last year, the
average mobile user was sending about 350 texts (vs. about 200 calls).
 

Glückwunschherr Hillebrand!
(Translation: Congratulations, Mr.
Hillebrand)