[REVIEW] New instant messenger – hike
Reviewed on Samsung Galaxy Note (GT-N7000, Android version 4.0.4 [ICS])
Inexpensive data plans and anorexic SMS allowances have served as catalysts for the proliferation of several messenger apps for smartphone users to help them stay connected. Messengers have come a long way from the email-based versions of yore (think Yahoo, GTalk). Aggressive marketing of smartphones and a more than welcoming audience who lap it all up have created a lot of incentive for software makers to create and market applications or as they are fondly called today, ‘apps’.
Hike, the newest messaging app on the block has been developed by Bharti SoftBank. The first impression is good. A simple, blue-themed UI with easy navigation options scores brownie points. The installation is fairly easy. The app has to be downloaded and installed and setup is automatically taken care of. Syncing with phone contacts is seamless and smooth. The standalone feature of hike is that, apart from hike-to-hike messages, users can also send free SMS to their friends who are not on hike. To support this, hike offers it’s users a minimum of 100 free SMS per month. This feature is applicable only to national numbers at the moment. Also, users can up their SMS count by recommending hike to their friends. Your account will be credited with 50 SMS and talk-time top-up for each friend that joins through your referral.
While there is a cap on SMS, hike messages are unlimited and can be sent worldwide to other hike users. The contacts tab that can be pulled from the right is split in three ways: Favorites, Friends on hike and Recents.
While the first two are self-explanatory, the Recents list is one that is updated in tandem with the call log on your phone. This feature makes sense as hike offers free SMS and having the recent contacts just a touch away is very convenient.
For those who swear by emoticons to help more than words, you’re going to be spoilt with choices here. With 3 variants of hike emoticons apart from the emoji variety that became popular with Whatsapp, no feeling can go unexpressed. Overall operation is smooth, the UI is easy on the eye, contacts sync and updates are quick and the SMS feature is the deal clincher.
The app is available for free download from Google Play for Android users (size 7.59MB) and the App store for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad users (size 15.0 MB). Users of the latter are requested to check for compatibility of the app with their devices. The app has garnered rave reviews from the majority of its users and has crossed 1,000,000+ downloads on the Google Play Store. Those who feel they are running out of oxygen at Whatsapp and other social messengers, take a mini vacay and trek over to hike. If you make it to the summit, you might even consider staying!
Nikhila is a gadget lover and passionate writer. She likes to keep up with social media and Internet culture in particular while staying updated about all latest gizmos. Nikhila is a mechanical engineer-turning-into-technical-writer. Bibliophile, Grammar Nazi, dog lover, foodie, casual artist.
20 February, 2013