Mobile instant messaging has overtaken SMS texting for the first time.
According to a report by Informa, messages sent using services such as iMessage and WhatsApp now outnumber texts.
They said that globally in 2012 19 billion messages were sent over the internet with apps every day, compared to 17.6 billion texts.
Analysts expect that number to continue to rise, with up to 50 billion daily chat messages anticipated by 2014.
Online messaging works using a mobile data connection rather than the separate SMS service, which dates from before mobile phones were able to reliably access the internet.
With apps like WhatsApp and Skype, chats are not charged per message but by overall data cost.
But SMS might not be finished just yet - Informa said that 21 billion will be sent daily by 2014, up to 4 million more daily messages over 2012.
However it seems likely that users relying on SMS will increasingly be located in the developing world, where smartphones are less common.
The result in developed markets like the UK could be fresh issues for mobile operators, who are less likely to entice new customers with generous text packages.
Up to £15 billion was lost in potential SMS revenue in 2012 alone, according to another research report by Ovum, according to the BBC.Suggest a correction