Hike, the newest kid on mobile instant messaging scene, has had such a wild welcome and adoption rate that it brought the servers down causing disruption in services.
The free mobile app, now on the top of the list on the Android marketplace Google Play Store, has been downloaded over a million times so far. "Signups will not work until 12pm tomorrow - 9th Feb - given the sudden increase in the volume," an official blog post said. "We are working at lightening speed and will get this back up asap."
Hike, launched on 14 November, is the brainchild of Kavin Bharti Mittal, son of Sunil Bharti Mittal founder-chairman of Bharti Airtel, India's largest mobile network with over 180 million subscribers. Hike, was built by BhartiSoftBank, the 50-50 joint venture between Bharti and Japan's mobile operator SoftBank.
Hike differentiates itself from other instant messaging apps such as Whatsapp or Nimbuzz by seamlessly integrating with SMS feature so that a user can easily chat with those that have not installed the app or do not have a smartphone.
With over 850 million mobile subscribers, India's mobile population is one of the largest in the world. With falling SMS usage because of apps like Whatsapp, telecommunication companies have been looking for ways to retain the interest of younger subscribers who prefer that mode of communication to the earlier standard of SMS. Telcos have also been afraid of losing control to instant messaging apps who stand to gain as they generate revenues through advertising. An app like Hike from a telco stable, lets them remain in control.
Kavin Bharti Mittal graduated from Imperial College, London in 2009 with a masters in electrical and electronics engineering as well as management. He has also done short interships at Google and Goldman Sachs while studying at Imprerial College.