Nokia R&D invited some of us to preview their pilot project of WeMeet application. Its an interesting application. Its a simple application which allows you to have threaded sms conversation with friends as group chat generally does. Its a simple application though still in its testing phase or the pilot as the Nokia guys call it.
It has a simple interface (screenshots nicely compiled by Prashanth at TechBangalore). You can create groups in simple steps. Send message to friends is a breeze as well. Just like other group SMS services like SMS Gup Shup, it allows you to send SMS to all your friends in that group in a single SMS. It sends a message to a local number in Bangalore(not a premium number), which in turn broadcasts this to all the people in the group. As this is currently only in pilot phase, its free and available only in Bangalore. To join create, modify and send message to groups an SMS is sent for your cellphone. When you receive an SMS from a group message, thats delivered directly to WeMeet application. If your application is closed, it will start up automatically and show you the message.
I think the beauty of this application is not the fact that it can send group SMS, but the fact that it can display the messages in a threaded manner is a killer feature. Another killer feature its that it runs also on S40 devices like my 5130 and others like 5310, 3600 etc besides the S60 based phones like the N and E series phones from Nokia. That kind of assures connectivity with most of my friends and family. Yeah we all trust Nokia with the low end phones.
The major difference between this and other services is the location information which is encoded in the message so you can know an approximate location of the users. For phones which are devoid of GPS, the CellID & CBS messages are used to identify the location. This information seems to be optimally encoded in the SMS. It sure is really an innovative use of existing technology.
All said but this app is not without flaws. But then it being a Pilot project of sorts, it makes sense. Some limitations are like, max number of users in a group can only be 5 and only the creator can add new members. It crashed a few times on my 5130. One consistent failure I found was when trying to add a contact to a group from phonebook. It showed low memory error on my cell phone.
More information on it and downloadable apps are available at http://wemeet.nokiapaloalto.com/