1. Computing

LINE – Free Mobile Calls and Messages

Mobile VoIP App Review

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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Line is a VoIP service for mobile phones that has made some serious reputation especially in Asia. It is now a serious competitor to the likes of Skype, WhatsApp and Viber. At the time I am writing this, the number of registered users for Line has gone beyond the 100 million mark. Line offers a lot of features, more than WhatsApp and Viber. Besides the free messaging service, users can also call on another for free, for any length of time and from any location to any other location in the world. Line is also a newborn social network.

Pros

  • Free in-network calls.
  • Interesting list of features.
  • Integrates a social network service.
  • Easy to set up and use, using mobile phone number for registration.
  • Versions for Windows PC and Mac also available, along with devices running iOS, Android and BlackBerry.

Cons

  • No possibility to call landline and mobile lines.
  • No video.

Review

Line has become one of the most popular VoIP and messaging service in Asia, and in other parts of the world. It is a neat and well-made app with some good service behind that is service more than 100 million users worldwide. This huge user base makes it interesting in the sense that you have more chances of making friends and make calls to them for free.

With Line, you can make unlimited free calls to other Line users, who also have Line installed on their portable devices. You can also send and receive text messages with them for free.

What do you require? You need a smartphone or tablet that is the app supports. Then you need to install the app which is free, and you are good to go as long as you have an Internet connection. That connection would mostly be through a 3G or 4G data plan, since you want to be able to use it anywhere you are. Wi-Fi is somewhat restrictive physically.

Which devices are supported? You can have a version for your Windows PC (7 and 8) and Mac. But more interestingly, you have versions for iOS (the iPhone, iPad and iPod), Android devices and BlackBerry devices.

Setting up is a breeze. I installed and used it on Android. Once installed and launched, it registers you through your phone. It tries to locate you and even gets your phone number automatically, but you need to check that, as it has not been exact in my case. It picked up an old phone number no longer in use. Then you need to verify using a code that is sent to your mobile phone through SMS. Agreeably, it reads the SMS and extracts the code automatically. During the registration process, it asks you for your email address and your password, so it can peruse your emails and addresses to construct your contact list. I don’t feel at ease with that. You can opt out of this, and I would recommend you to. Just select Register Later upon the prompt for your email address and password. You can then use the app as you wish and build up your profile.

Features

Line makes a lot of noise about it stickers and emoticons. There is a market for that, especially among the young ones. So, if you are in that, you will like the cartoons and other animations offered, often centered around manga characters. Some of them are on sale. Well, some people really like them! Anyhow, let’s get back to more useful things…

You can share multimedia files among Line users. The files you send can be recorded voice files, video files and pictures. The voice and video files you send may be recorded on the spot and sent.

You can organize group messages with up to 100 people at once. There are many ways of adding friends, among which are the traditional search, but also by shaking the phones close to one another. You can also share the QR codes.

You can turn Line into your own social network. The Home feature allows you to place a timeline, a bit like Facebook and Twitter, and allows your friends to comment.

Line compares favorably with direct competitors WhatsApp and Viber. WhatsApp is good and very popular but there is no possibility to place voice calls. Viber does offer voice calls but the app itself has problems of stability and keeps crashing. Line offers more features and a better worked and more intuitive interface than the two others.

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