It wouldn’t come as a surprise if you have never heard of LINE. Even though this app for free text and calling has more than a 100 million users worldwide, it is not alone in providing those services. Depending on where you are, different messaging and calling apps would be more dominant than others. Be it WhatsApp, Viber, Skype or just the usual texting and calling with unlimited texts and minutes on your mobile package, we are all pretty adjusted to what “everyone” is already using.
In this landscape, LINE offers a mix of integration and new features that help it stand out.
Messaging and Video Calling
In addition to messaging and calling, LINE offers free video calling. Current usage of apps seems is usually more compartmentalized – WhatsApp/iMessaging for messaging, Viber for voice calling and Skype/FaceTime for video calls. Using LINE would mean that all these needs are met under one app.
Social Networking Aspect
With its Timeline feature, LINE also aspires to fulfill your social networking needs. This might seem too ambitious with the stronghold of Facebook and Twitter, but LINE could serve to those who have overextended themselves on the usual social networking site. LINE could be their social networking alternative for close friends and family, who you actually keep in touch with on a regular basis.
One clear distinction from the usual mobile apps offering messaging and calling services to its users is that LINE is not limited to your phone. In addition to being available across all mobile platforms, LINE is also available on your PC (Windows or MacOS). This feature is not completely unheard of as you can use iMessaging on all your Apple devices and Skype/Viber is available on your computer too, but it distinguishes LINE from WhatsApp.
Stickers and Emojis
LINE offers its users over 10,000 stickers and emoticons to use for messaging. While this is also part of their revenue generation strategy as some stickers are available for purchase, this availability changes the way you can communicate with your friends and families. With apps such as Yo banking on the power of communicating without saying much, and Facebook Messenger’s Pusheen emoticons taking off – the value of communicating without saying anything/much is growing.
This feature speaks to the Japanese origins of the app and high level of popularity in Asian countries. It has an anime vibe, which plays well to the wide fan base of anime/cartoons in these markets.
Video sharing is also a part of this package. The naming of this part brings SnapChat and Vines to mind. You can make 10 second videos on LINE which can be shared with your friends. There are features available to add background music to your videos.
Official Accounts and Coupons
This aspect brings Twitter to mind. Celebrities and organizations have LINE accounts which are shown to users according to their country. What helps LINE stand out is that they have added the availability of coupons via these official accounts as a motivation for users to add them as their friends on the app.
If you thought LINE does absolutely everything in the world, there are other LINE apps (linked to the the LINE interface) such as LINE Webtoon, LINE DECO, LINE PLAY, LINE Camera, LINE Tools, LINE Brush, LINE Antivirus and LINE Card that expand the LINE universe much further.
For the success of LINE in any market, it needs to gain traction. I downloaded the app, but hardly anyone is already on there. While it has a lot to offer, but there might be many who would download the app, register and then remove everything when they see that not many people are on there. LINE does try to reward users for inviting friends, but the effectiveness of that strategy might not be high.
After using it for a bit, I feel that it’s definitely worth trying out. As more people start using it, you might not need any of the other apps for your communication and social networking needs – LINE has it all.
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