India’s attracting all the messaging apps of the world, it appears: Japan-based LINE Corporation has now extended its popular text & voice messaging app LINE to India, joining the likes of other mobile options – WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, Tencent’s WeChat, Imsy, PlusTxt and Hike among others. With data users increasing and SMS declining, there’s going to be a land-grab of users in India over the next few months that messaging apps would not like to lose out on.
Line is currently available as a free download across various operating systems like iOS, Android, Nokia Asha, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Windows and Mac. The company claims to have an user base of 180 million across 231 countries. While there is currently no information on how many of them are active users, LINE claimed that it delivers around 5 billion calls and messages across the world on a daily basis.
Similar to other messaging apps, LINE allows users to send messages and make voice calls through the app. It also has a ‘Home’ and ‘Timeline’ section which allows users to share moments and browse through moments of their friends, quite similar to what WeChat and Path offer.
LINE however seems to offer better desktop integration than its competitors. It offers a native Windows, Mac and a Windows 8 app, while among its competitors, only Google Hangouts (which replaced Google Talk) is available as a Chrome app and a Gmail chat window and WeChat offers a web interface which can be accessed on desktops.
LINE Stickers: Besides this, LINE also offers both free and paid stickers to users and the company claims to offer more than 5,000 stickers and emoticons through its in-app Sticker Shop. In May 2013, LINE had informed that stickers accounted for 30% of the company’s $58 million revenue in Q1 2013, indicating that the company had generated around $17.4 million revenue from stickers.
Note that Plustxt and Hike already offer stickers to its users, however both currently offer only free stickers. While Plustxt offers localized Hindi language stickers, Hike had introduced stickers like Snuggles the Dog and Miley the Cat last month.
LINE Games: What will probably differentiate LINE from its competitors is its in-app mobile gaming section called LINE Game, which allows users to download and play games with their friends on their mobile phones. At the time of writing this article, the company offers 17 games on their Android app. Last month, LINE had also introduced a new service called LINE free coins on Android last month, through which the company was incentivizing users to download specific games in return for virtual coins.