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Some History Behind the 160 Character Limit on SMS



This is an interesting read from the LA Times that sheds some light on why SMS or text messaging has a 160 character limit. Here’s a quick excerpt:

For one, they found that postcards often contained fewer than 150 characters.

Second, they analyzed a set of messages sent through Telex, a then-prevalent telegraphy network for business professionals. Despite not having a technical limitation, Hillebrand said, Telex transmissions were usually about the same length as postcards.

Just look at your average e-mail today, he noted. Many can be summed up in the subject line, and the rest often contains just a line or two of text asking for a favor or updating about a particular project.

Read the entire article here.



  1. Erich

    05/04/2009 at 12:00 pm

    About service.
    Some time ago I bought a Fujitsu Lifebook T4215.
    It has a bay for either CD/DVD or extra battery.
    It arrived with a broken connector on the mother board.
    Via email I received an RMA number. They said they would email me when the item was received at their report depot.

    Monday morning I received email confirming arrival of the computer. WEDNESDAY, SAME WEEK AT 12:30 PM UPS DELIVERED THE REPAIRED TABLET PC !!!

  2. GoodThings2Life

    05/04/2009 at 1:34 pm

    Man, they haven’t looked at my emails, letters, or post-cards, lol… I’m the type that fills every last space on a postcard, and writes front-and-back letters, and e-mails that are to-the-point but still informative.

  3. Ben

    05/04/2009 at 10:59 pm

    i personally think all these different ‘messaging’ services are basically one in the same. SMS, email, chat, twitter.. more or less it’s the same thing. i think it would be wise for these various text-delivery methods to be unified into one protocol. but that’s just me dreaming.

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