Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Are You Ready for Line?

Last Thursday, while everyone else rushed to their valentine dates, we drove through the heavy C5 traffic to check out the product launch of the latest messaging craze to hit the Philippines: Line.

Interestingly, Line was launched last 2011 after the Japan earthquake. Communication systems have been severely damaged and kept people from contacting each other, and data service was found to be more effective. So they came up with a messaging service that allows for messaging and calls using data connection. And because it's Japanese, you can count that they'd do it with their own sense of fun and style (Japan-japan characters, colors and all). Only two years after their launching, they already have 231 million users around the globe and counting, so I guess it just makes a lot of sense for them to launch the product in the text-crazy land of Pinoys. :)

The basic services of Line are free calls, free messaging, photo/location sharing and group messaging among peers. Now this is quite already available for other messaging services like Viber and such, so what makes Line different? I downloaded the app to find out. App size is 15mb so it's good enough for the average smartphone, it's available for iOS, Android, and Blackberry OS, it's also being developed for Windows.

So basically this is the homepage. It looks very much like Facebook, and it even has its own timeline.

Line also features a Line Camera (photo-editing app ala-Instagram), a Line Band (group messaging that can cover as much as a 100 people!), Line Card for greeting cards,  and even an antivirus.

So more than just a messaging service, it's actually a Lifestyle App. Like a virtual tambayan, and is already integrated with Facebook. The interface is user-friendly and easy to figure out, with a lot of eye candies to feast on. I'm yet to really explore all of its features but I already like it. :D I already set up a group account for me and my housemates and we named it Dorm-Belles. Heehee!

What I'm very happy about it is that I could finally make calls from my wifi-only tablet, Samsung Tab 2 P3113. I've been looking for an app that would allow me to make calls but other apps required a device with call-function (I think Viber is incompatible with my device). But Line App finally allowed me to make my first call. Yey!

Voice call finally!

In addition to emoticons (which the Japanese fondly call "emoji's), Line also features "Stickers". These are themed characters showcasing a wide array of emotions. At first I thought "okay no big deal". But that was until I used it. Ang cute seryoso hahah. I'm looking forward to seeing more Pinoy-themed stickers though, like silly politicians perhaps? In time with the elections? Or maybe Boy Bastos / Boy Bawang/ Boy Asimo. Heheh! 

I think the "gaming" feature of Line has a lot of potential. They mentioned catering to some international magazines such as Vogue, so I guess it has a potential to diversify in a lot more ways other than gaming. Looking forward to more developers being able to come up with apps specialized for the average Pinoy. A down side to this however is that our data connectivity is not yet as stable and readily available as in other countries. Nevertheless I think the fun experience of Line can still drive Pinoys to try it.

The product launch was held at F1 Hotel at The Fort. I loved the setup of the place because it was themed with my favorite kind of green. Wee! Here are some of the photos that we took during the launch: 

Cute character dolls based on Line Stickers. I have one at home!  :P

Line representatives answering everyone's queries

There was also a game where bloggers got to try out Line's most popular game: Line Pop. The participants had a lot of fun. :) More photos below:

I love the dolls!

Muntik nakong matabunan heheh

Incidentally, the guest band at the event is actually led by my elem-to-highschool classmate! Nice! I loved seeing Miyuki pursue what she has always loved to do ever since we were young. :) The band's name is Breakaway, and bias aside, I liked their set. The songs were happy-perky and they sounded really good. :) I found myself just hanging in one corner and enjoying the performance even if i wasn't familiar with all of the songs. You can check out her facebook for contact info and bookings.

With Breakaway Band :)


Smartphone technology has grown at an extremely rapid pace for the past few months, with a new "flagship phone" being launched almost every other month and specs just getting more powerful with every unit. However following Moore's law, this probably would reach a saturation point as well. I think what's next in line is the boom of smart phone apps that are able to cater to consumer needs regardless of platform and fan base (iOS vs. Android). I think Line App is in the right step towards that direction. :)

See you on-Line! :)

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