When exactly will mobile IM take over SMS?

bb mobileIM1Some people out there are under the impression that they’re the only ones using text messages in the US. Turns out it’s become more popular than you might think, with 301 billion texts forecasted total for 2008. But the SMS’s time in the sun might be over before the zenith, as mobile IM is set to overtake it, or so the analysts say.

I don’t think that’s going to happen this year, and here’s why: With any modern cellphone, you can send an SMS to any other cellphone on any other network in America, and even many other countries. With mobile IM, you only have the network or networks (MSN, Yahoo!, AIM, etc.) that your phone has pre-programmed in. Sure, smartphone users can add new messaging apps, but for RAZR users it’s not really an option.

That being said, we’re seeing a huge move in cellphones from simple utilitarian devices to more complex communicators, phones with advanced messaging and usually QWERTY keyboards. But we’re not there yet. Next year, though, will be the time of the communicators, so that could mean the hatchet for SMS.