Nokia has been working on creating a mobile phone feature that connects people with strangers (or friends) in their immediate vicinity.

Nokia Instant Community is a mobile social network fuelled by the people around you. It lets you chat, share content and interact with people close by via your mobile phone.

The concept was jointly created by Tampere University of Technology and the Nokia Research Center. It provides an insight into how we might interact with strangers in the future - via social networks and mobile communication.

Nokia Instant Community is unique in the fact that it doesn't require mobile users to connect through WiFi, infrared or Bluetooth. Instead the social network is run using the device's adhoc WiFi (a network that enables two or more devices to connect with each other directly instead of passing through a central access point or wireless router).

"The two apps showcased working on the platform demonstrated how you could instant message with folks nearby, share pictures, songs and contact information along with other content you'd like others to be privy to on your device," explained a May 25 post on the Nokia Conversations official blog.

On May 13 Patently Apple revealed that Apple is also working on a powerful location-based service for the iPhone. Apple was granted the patent that would see service or retail applications temporarily appear on a users' phone when they approach a certain location. For example, if a user came in the vicinity of a restaurant, a menu for that restaurant would temporarily appear on their device.

The technology could theoretically be used in a similar way to Nokia Instant Community, with near-by users' profiles temporarily popping up when they approach the device.

Nokia Instant Community is still in its research and development phase but you can view the initial concept behind the social network here:

To read more about Nokia Instant Community head to:

For more information about Apple's location-based patent visit: