A formal description of thumbtribes is as follows:
Mobile application developers need to design their applications with the constraints of the network in mind. In comparison to inexpensive home broadband networks, mobile networks often exhibit high levels of latency and have limited bandwidth. Another significant difference between these networks is the cost of transporting data. Mobile network operators often apply usage tariffs, especially if the customer is on a prepaid service. In such situations, mobile Internet use can prove costly. To help reduce costs, application developers should try to minimise the amount of data their applications communicate. In this paper we present, thumbtribes, an open source project which attempts to add location-awareness to Internet Relay Chat (IRC) in a network efficient manner.
Moore, J. “THUMBTRIBES: LOW BANDWIDTH, LOCATION-AWARE
COMMUNICATION”, Proceedings of WINSYS 2007, International Conference on Wireless Information Networks and Systems, July 2007