Multi-platform messaging apps are a dime a dozen on app stores catering to all platforms, which is why news that hike, one more in a long list of IM apps, has accumulated 5 million subscribers in four months.

Developed by Bharti SoftBank, hike launched globally in December 2012 and has been an instant hit. What sets hike apart is that it integrates text messaging for contacts who don’t have smartphones. According to the company, this SMS integration has resulted in a great surge in adoption of hike in India. Additionally, hike allows users to send free instant messages to contacts anywhere in the world as well as share location and multimedia content.

hike on the Play Store

hike on the Play Store

Speaking about the success of the app, Kavin Bharti Mittal, Head of Product and Strategy, Bharti SoftBank, said “These are exciting times for hike and we are thrilled by the phenomenal response we've received over the last couple of months. hike has taken off globally and in India in particular our users love the fact that they can create groups with a mix of friends who have and don’t have the app and see the messages being sent and read in real-time. Free hike SMS is proving to be extremely popular in a country like India where not everyone in a group of friends has access to a data-enabled smartphone.

Keeping in line with the focus on building innovative features like SMS integration, the developers will soon be bringing a big update to the app called hike 2.0. This update brings with it Status Updates and Moods that lets users customise their profile daily. Additionally, the app will allow users to set a “Circle of Friends”, who will all be notified about new status updates and broadcasts.

Commenting on hike 2.0, Mittal said, “We’ve been carefully listening to our users and we realised the biggest thing missing in hike was status updates. With hike 2.0, we're introducing Status Updates with Moods, a simple, fun way to share what you're thinking about or what you're up to in real-time with your closest friends. Instead of the update going to everyone in your address book, you can carve out a circle of friends with whom you can share such updates.”

He further added that the Circles feature is culturally relevant as people do not want to share everything with all of their contacts. “We want to share a lot of things with our inner circle of friends. Drawing inspiration from there, we’ve built a simple and easy way of allowing our users to share updates to only a select set of friends and maintaining their privacy.

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