One of the reasons I got into ham radio was because of APRS, and the thought and possibility of using just about any device to communicate with other hams, as out lined in - http://aprs.org/aprs-messaging.html well I found the reality of this to be somewhat less then what I had hoped for. I have even tried to write a couple of computer programs in order to do SMS messing from cell phones into the APRS system, (And I am still working on one of these programs), 73s.org has a way to send a message from an APRS radio and have it displayed on twitter - My APRS2TWITTER script has the ability to do the same, and to beable to send a message from twitter into the APRS system
http://code.google.com/p/aprs2twitter and with all that, I am still not seeing what I thought would be almost 2nd nature.
That is until today, I came across a cross platform instant messenger called PingChat (PingChat.com) It works on Android, Blackberry, and iPhone - it's a voice/text/picture messagenger and on some platforms it can also send maps. From what I saw the blackberry app is still in beta, and is kind of buggy (I own both a blackberry, and an Android) The android app seems to be solid and stable. The thing about this app is you don't need to know the persons cell phone number, you just need there ping-id The ID can be almost anything, the app doesn't require a password, and once a user name is regestered on a phone it's becomes stays with it.
The app is also push enabled, so it doesn't need to be running in order to get a new message, and in my testing of the app, if your phone is off, pingchat.com stores a message till your phone comes back on...thou I don't know how long it will hold a message before it decides it can't be delivered.
There is also a way to do a group chat, but from reading a little bit about that, it may still be a work in progress.
SO why am I so excited about this app? Well, my ping-ID on my Android Device is my call KD8BXP, and on my blackberry it's KD8BXP-1 (Though as I said the blackberry app is a bit buggy) - fellow hams, can download and install the app, use there call signs for the ping-id, and bango we have a network close to what was promised for APRS.
Yes, it's not a ham app persay, but it could be used for such things, it doesn't go into any of the other ham radio systems (yes, that is true), which means that ANYONE who knows your call can contact you via pingchat.
Pingchat says a desktop app is in the works, I would like to see this, because it might be possable to bridge this app to APRS, but with that in mind, who ever comes up with a way to do that would need to remember to have a passcode system in place to keep non-hams out of APRS.
I don't know, is this something we have been waiting for for a while or am I just thinking to myslef again!