200 million: Messaging app LINE doubles user base in six months

line appMessaging app LINE has really taken off in the last six months, a fact highlighted Tuesday when the company announced its global user base had crossed the 200 million mark.

The cross-platform messaging app is similar to the likes of Viber and WhatsApp, allowing users to communicate through text messages as well as video and voice communications. The Korean-owned Japan-based company also markets a number of in-app and standalone games.

Tuesday’s announcement means LINE has doubled its user base in the space of just six months, an achievement which owes much to its determined expansion in south-east Asia and Latin America, and helped by the fact that it’s available across all the major mobile platforms. The free app, which made its name in Japan after launching in 2011, is proving popular in Spain and India too.

line growth

In the US, however, it currently sits outside the top 200 in the iOS All Categories app chart, though among social networking apps it’s currently at number 27. In the same category for top grossing apps, it’s doing even better, positioned in 11th place.

Rapid growth in the States could be just around the corner, however, with the opening earlier this year of a LINE office in Los Angeles headed up by Jeanie Han, a former business development executive at Paramount Pictures.

“We’ve been so successful in Asia and now we need to go outside,” Han told Forbes’ Parmy Olsen in an interview recently.


The free app generated revenue of $58 million in the first quarter of this year, with half its income coming from in-app game sales and 30 percent from sales of digital stickers, a popular feature of the app among users in Asia.

Part of Han’s challenge is to persuade the US market that the stickers, of which there are currently around 8,000, are worth forking out for. She says that in some countries the stickers are used in messages more than words.

“Now instead of typing they use stickers,” she told Olsen. “There are so many that it replaces words, so you don’t need to even type anymore.” She even claims that many LINE fans use the stickers to make up more quickly after a quarrel because they offer so many different ways to say sorry.

Smart Home

Amazon Alexa enhancements add geolocation, kids’ Routines, and more

Amazon's digital assistant Alexa continues to evolve and its newest features should appeal to busy people and parents on the go, including location-based routines and reminders as well as Routines aimed toward kids.

Microsoft may ditch Edge for a new Chromium-based web browser

Microsoft's Edge browser may have just a few months left to live. New rumors suggest that the software giant is replacing its Windows 10 browser with something based on Google's Chromium rendering engine.

Patent highlights Apple's sky-high ambitions for AirPower wireless charger

At its September event last year, Apple unveiled the AirPower -- its new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.

Check out the best Green Monday deals for those last-minute gifts

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but that doesn't mean you've missed your chance of finding a great deal. We're talking about Green Monday, of course, and it falls on December 10.

Google Fit app finally gets a widget, among other new features

Google Fit hasn't received any new features since its redesign. This week, the company is rolling some new tools; users will be able to add a widget to their Android home screen, adjust the intensity of their workouts, and more.
Home Theater

Step aside set-top boxes, the best streaming sticks are tiny and just as powerful

Which streaming stick reigns supreme? We pit the Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra against the Roku Premiere, Roku Streaming Stick+, and the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K to help you decide which one will be the best fit in your living room.
Home Theater

Boy dies after being electrocuted through his headphones

A 16-year-old Malaysian boy appears to be the latest victim in a growing list of people who have been electrocuted by their smartphones via their headphones. It's believed that a faulty charging cable is the culprit.
Social Media

Walkie-talkie voice messaging finally comes to Instagram

In its latest grab from messaging apps, Instagram now lets you send walkie-talkie style voice messages. Apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and iMessage have offered the feature for some time.

Sign up for Verizon Fios Triple Play and get a free Amazon Echo, Prime for a year

Verizon is now offering its Fios Gigabit Connection Custom TV and Phone service with Amazon Prime tossed in. While valid, you can sign up for the company’s Triple Play package, which includes all three Fios services, for $80 per month.

19 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great stocking stuffer ideas), we've rounded up 19 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth…

Apple iPad Pro 11 vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4: Which top-tier tablet reigns supreme?

If you're in the market for a new tablet and you want something that can double up as a laptop in a pinch, then you owe it to yourself to check out the 11-inch Apple iPad Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4. We compare the two here.

Chinese court upholds Qualcomm's complaint that Apple infringed on two patents

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Social Media

GIF almost anywhere with Giphy’s new keyboard and sticker maker

We all love GIFs, but not every app supports them. Fortunately, the new Giphy' keyboard brings GIFs to any iOS app that supports multimedia. The update also comes with a new tool for creating animated stickers.

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.