Language has always evolved, but since the explosion in social networking the rate of change has accelerated, with new acronyms and contractions flooding the dictionary every year.

Now some developers think language evolution is about to take a dramatic turn, and that through smartphones we'll move away from words - and even pictures - entirely.

Ping is a new application for iOS and Android that promises to take communication into a new era. Just as computer servers ping each other to say when they are online, uses of the Ping app can do the same with their friends, family and colleagues, like a modern day pager.