Line messaging and VoIP app adds 'Timeline' and 'Home' features, throws in new platform for app integration

With now over 45 million users, while you may not use Line yourself, someone you know (or at least someone they know) probably does. The Asia-centric Skype rival has decided to roll-out some extra functionality and is looking to go a few rounds with even bigger competition. 'Home' offers up a base for sharing photos and other content, as well as your own status updates, while the 'timeline' feature will throw together a familiar-sounding chronological breakdown of your latest adventures to show your friends, adding in the ability to comment on each other's posts. Its 'Line channel' sounds even more nebulous and aims to use the existing app as a foundation for integrating and linking to yet more programs and services. The screenshots hint at camera, gaming and (yes) horoscope integration, while Line is gearing up for both HTML5 and native applications. Hit up the company's notions on a heavily connected messaging service in two servings of press release, right after the break.

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NHN Japan to Launch LINE's New Platform Service, 'LINE Channel'

TOKYO, July 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- NHN Japan Corporation has announced that a new platform service, 'LINE Channel', is scheduled to be implemented very soon into its free-calling and free-messaging app 'LINE' (http://line.naver.jp/). This important announcement took place on July 3 at the first ever 'Hello, Friends in Tokyo' conference held at the new Shibuya Hikarie Hall. NHN Japan stated that 'LINE Channel' will be catered firstly toward the Japanese market, followed by a gradual move overseas.

Since the launch of 'LINE' on June 23, 2011, this smartphone app, which allows its users to enjoy free calls and messages, has been used in over 230 countries worldwide, and within approximately a year since its launch, the total number of registered users has exceeded 45 million (20 million in Japan). With this rapidly growing user number in mind, NHN Japan is introducing a new platform service, 'LINE Channel', which aims to expand the range of services on offer, using LINE as its foundation. This new feature will be available on the iPhone and Android versions of the LINE app, with Windows Phone versions planned for the near future.

Designed on the basis of the concept of the 'Smartphone-life Platform' which is intended to provide a more fun and enriching experience to smartphone users, 'LINE Channel' functions as a platform integrating additional apps and services. With 'LINE Channel', users can enjoy additional apps with or without their friends connected via LINE.

NHN Japan aims to establish a new ecosystem (economic zone) for smartphone-related services by offering various content and services developed by its external business partners for the 45 million users worldwide. In the first installment, services including games, fortune-telling and money-saving coupons are scheduled to be released from early July.

These new services and content are provided in 2 ways. The first is 'Web apps' based on HTML5 that operate within the LINE app and the second is 'Native apps' that are available at the app markets for iOS and Android devices and can be linked to the LINE service. Although NHN Japan's self-developed apps alone will be released at first, NHN Japan has made it clear that it plans to increase the availability of apps developed by external business partners by opening its API and offering developers access to LINE's functions including friends lists, messaging and payment. NHN Japan has opened a webpage dedicated to finding new external partners via the contact form within LINE (http://line.naver.jp/partner/).

Moreover, 'LINE Coin', a mobile, virtual payment service for purchases of the content/services within 'LINE Channel', has been released. By purchasing LINE Coins in advance, users can access the paid content within 'LINE Channel'.

NHN Japan will first of all apply this 'smartphone-life platform' strategy towards the Japanese market, before gradually increasing these services overseas. The company has also announced that it wishes to work together with external developers from all countries and regions, and use its expertise to expand LINE's linked services/apps worldwide, as well as creating a connecting point for overseas services/apps to Japan, for the successful establishment of a 'global smartphone-life platform'.

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NHN Japan to Release New 'Timeline' and 'Home' Social Networking Features for LINE

TOKYO, July 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- NHN Japan Corporation has announced that it will release new 'Home' and 'Timeline' features within the very near future for its free-calling and free-messaging app 'LINE' (http://line.naver.jp/). The announcement took place at the first ever 'Hello, Friends in Tokyo' conference held at the new Shibuya Hikarie Hall on July 3.

These new 'Home' and 'Timeline' features allow friends who are connected to one another on the LINE service to share their recent developments in their lives, in real time. NHN Japan believes that in addition to the existing 'Free Calling' and 'Free Messaging' functions, these new social networking features will lead to further promoting and energizing as well as enhancing communication between users.

The first new addition is 'Home'; "a personal space, created by LINE for you." Users now have their own page where they can share and update their recent developments with the use of photos, videos and location information as well as normal text. It also allows users to express their own personalities by customizing their own page with the use of cover photos.

"It's never been so fun to 'Like' your friend's posts!" Of course, normal commenting functions are available. However, users can now respond with a single tap, using popular LINE stickers which show an array of instant emotions. Your friend's posts can be shown by tapping the profile photo upon entering the friend's 'Home' screen, and this provides users with a new way of communication and expression.

The second new feature is the 'Timeline' which allows users to share their recent developments in a timeline format amongst their LINE friends. As with the 'Home' feature, users can use stickers to express their feelings towards the posts as well as commenting on them directly. 'Timeline' and 'Home' functions are linked, which means that user activities at 'Home' will also be reflected on the 'Timeline'.

As always with the developers of LINE, privacy is at the top of the list, which means that posts will only be shown between users who have added one another as friends. Furthermore, in regards to other users'posts, the user can select whether these posts are shown or hidden from view.

The third new feature, 'LINE Channel', functions as a platform service for integrated apps/services within LINE. Users can keep up-to-date with their friend's activity history within these integrated apps as they will be posted automatically to the Home and Timeline screens, as shown.

NHN Japan will continue to improve existing features as well as pursuing the expansion of its integrated services to provide an ideal platform for communication.