Hooked on Hookt: the instant messenger for any screen

When I discovered that Hookt actively syncs your conversation across all platforms, I was immediately intrigued. See, as someone who juggles multiple phones, and is front of a computer most of the day, it wasn’t practical to use a service like Google Talk, which is not native on Windows Phone or iOS; nor was it practical to use Kik or WhatsApp, as they only allow one instance at a time. LiveProfile fit the bill nicely, but I found it to be extremely unreliable.

So enter Hookt, a relatively new service from AirG, which combines what we love of BBM (unique ID, read receipts), WhatsApp (phone number verification, auto contacts), and Google Talk (sync across multiple devices natively) into a multi-platform IM client. Available for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, the mobile web and desktop, it’s become my de facto IM client despite a few nagging issues that I hope the company addresses.

While the main issue with the Android app is the persistent notification icon, there are a couple design problems that could be addressed to make it more ICS-friendly, such as the ability to swipe between open chats (one of my favourite Google Talk features in ICS). Nevertheless, the app has a reasonable unified design between its iPhone, Android and BlackBerry apps, and delivery of a message comes with a read receipt for those users who need to be acknowledged.

When I send a message on my iPhone, it instantly updates on my Android and BlackBerry. When someone sends me a message, it pings on all three. The app logs in with your main email address and phone number, which allows you to be searchable by those means if you want to, but also generates a unique Hookt ID much like a BlackBerry PIN. Each account has one, and is the main vessel by which you’ll be sharing contact information. The app also searches through your contact list (with your permission, natch) to bring you users in your life who already use the service. It found nine individuals, and I’m sure more will come.

The app also allows seamless sharing of photos, and there is a dedicated emoticon/sticker panel for the younger set, who want to emote with cutesy drawings of rabbits and such. Despite the younger audience focus, Hookt comes across as a very mature product. When not in front of a mobile device, you can even log in to Hookt.com and continue your conversations there. If you’re running a Windows Phone, hookt.com will redirect you to a mobile-friendly web page on which you can chat too.

While its competitors Kik, WhatsApp, LiveProfile and more are certainly the incumbents in the field, Hookt seems to be the one service that has the potential to supplant all of them. It just works, and it works well.

Check it out at Hookt.com