Hike Total Review: A good concept, but it still needs a lot of work
Hike, back in January launched its own operating system UI built on top of Google’s Android operating system. The software in its initial stages will be available on ultra-affordable smartphones manufactured by Indian companies like Intex and Karbonn. The USP of this platform is that users can utilise basic online services without the need to have access to the internet. This may sound really good but is it indeed what Hike claims the software to be? Read the review below to find out.
To start using the so-called free services from Hike, the users will have to register on Total and activate the device with a compatible SIM card. To achieve this level of effectiveness in bringing data without the need of internet to users, Hike has used the pre-existing USSD protocol. The company is even working with a number of telecom operators to offer cheap data packets to users who need to access more than what Hike is able to offer with the help of the USSD protocol.
Hike Total comes with support for eight regional languages and has a heavy focus on the Indian market. The company hasn’t played around with the UI too much keeping most of it in its stock configuration. The company has included a few apps like – News, Cricket and Rail Info which will let its users consume information without the need for data. The thing here is that the apps take a lot of time to load and I guess you are better off purchasing data instead.
One thing that we found odd was that the device from the Hike application was able to send text messages to other numbers easily. However, whenever we came across sending text messages to a phone number which previously had Hike Messenger installed, the app failed to deliver. This seems to be one of the major implementation points that Hike missed on Total.
We tested the device with an Airtel SIM card, which fared quite okay while testing. Keeping in mind that the device was bringing all of the data in a presentable way through the USSD protocol was not very slow. However, if you use data at 3G speeds daily you are better off not utilising these services. But then, Hike Total is not meant for you anyway. Though the services load up slower than today’s standards, they were really informative and got the work done. They would come in more than handy in regions not blessed with great mobile internet connectivity. The apps that I used the most were the News app, Hike Wallet, Messaging, UPI and Data Pack purchases.
The thing that bothered me while reviewing Hike Total was the free information provided was mostly through other services of Hike. The news was curated by the Hike News app, the wallet and the messaging services were of Hike. This brings up the question of Net Neutrality, whether this violates it. But that is not the case as Hike has worked with telecom operators closely to bring the services to the users for free by improving the USSD protocol. And the company is planning to bring more third-party apps and government apps to the platform in the future.
The smartphones that run Hike Total currently might be okay to be someone’s first smartphone or a secondary smartphone. However, If you already own a smartphone this might not be the route you want to take. The ecosystem is in its infancy and needs time to grow. The company should be currently working on the betterment of the services along with bringing the operating system to better smartphones too.