Asian messaging giant Line, which has built a substantial business selling stickers and in-app games purchases to an engaged multi-million strong user-base of its free core app, has finally released a dedicated iPad app. It already had a desktop client, and multiple smartphone apps.
Last week the company also finally revealed details of the active monthly user count for its messaging service — pegging MAUs at around 170 million, with its registered users numbering 560 million. The core messaging service is free. Line monetizes via in-app purchases such as the aforementioned stickers.
The Line iPad app is described as a “sub-device” for the smartphone version, so it’s not possible to create new Line accounts on the iPad. Rather the idea is to allow existing Line users to get access to their friend lists and previously purchased stickers when using Apple’s tablet.
The app is not as fully featured as Line on smartphones. At launch, Line for iPad is pure-play messaging only, so there’s no support for voice or video calls yet. But images, videos and voice messages can be shared within text chats. Line says it intends to add more features to the app in time.
The app requires iPads running iOS 7 or above. Some 16 languages are supported at launch, with Line dubbing it a global iPad app. Expanding onto another device type expands Line’s reach, while seeking to make the most of the larger screened iPads to amp up Line’s appeal in multitasking scenarios.
Line is aggressively lining up new product launches to bolt onto its messaging platform, with a raft of planned launches slated for winter 2014 including Line Pay, to support making payments via its app or sending money to other Line users; Line Taxi, which looks like an Uber style on-demand ride hailing service but partnering with national taxi companies, starting in Japan; the soft launch of Line Wow, an on-demand food delivery service, again in partnership with an existing company; Line Maps for Indoors, targeting navigation in commercial facilities such as shopping malls, again starting in Japan; and Line Music, a subscription streaming service.
This is messaging being used as a platform for everything else that can be delivered digitally. Facebook start your photocopiers.