Line aims lightweight chat app at developing countries

Line Lite is under 1MB and doesn't have audio and video, but it reflects the company's strategy

Mobile chat app company Line said July 23 it is launching a lightweight version of its app for regions where network infrastructure is less developed or where lower-end smartphones are more common.

Mobile chat app company Line said July 23 it is launching a lightweight version of its app for regions where network infrastructure is less developed or where lower-end smartphones are more common.

Japanese mobile chat firm Line has launched a stripped-down version of its popular chat app to increase its user base in developing countries, where lower-end smartphones are commonly used and network infrastructure is not as advanced.

Line Lite is a lightweight version of the dominant chat app in Japan, tipping the scales at under 1MB and installing in one-twentieth the time it usually takes.

It has Line's iconic cartoonish emoticon characters, which are also known as stickers, as well as text chat, but lacks audio and video calls as well as the app's timeline and other features.

The app is being initially launched in 11 countries including India, Pakistan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Cambodia, Mexico and Egypt. The company plans to add countries as well as app features in the future.

In launching the stripped-down chat app, Line has taken a cue from Facebook, which tested a basic version of its mobile app earlier this year that's designed for 2G networks in areas with limited connectivity.

Line, a subsidiary of South Korean Internet portal Naver, claims over 205 million monthly users in 230 countries and regions, as well as about 17 billion messages exchanged every day and the top share for messaging apps in Japan, Thailand and Taiwan.

In Japan, Line has launched a taxi-hailing service and a streaming music function. Faced with stiff competition in other developed markets, it has focused on countries such as Indonesia and Mexico to gain traction.

"Our biggest strategy is to look at the trends of individual markets and localize to meet those trends," Line CEO Takeshi Idezawa said in May. When Line achieves top share in a given market, it launches additional services to increase the ways users can interact with its app, he added.

Tim Hornyak covers Japan and emerging technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Tim on Twitter at @robotopia.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags LineInternet-based applications and servicesconsumer electronicssmartphonesinternet

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Hornyak

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?