Line, which was recently spun-off from parent company Naver Japan — an affiliate of Korea’s biggest Web content firm — has 130 million registered users worldwide. Its arrival on the Asha platform will boost its potential user base in emerging markets (were Asha is most popular) and help compete among the bevvy of messaging rivals in Asia.
The Asha app supports regular messaging, the sending of photos and group chats, but it is not immediately clear whether users can send stickers — popular emoticons that are sold for $1/2 — since advanced features are often not present in more basic applications.
The free call and messaging service is available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone, but the company has also targeted more budget devices, having already launched an application for older BlackBerry phones.
Nokia may be on the wane in the global mobile market but it says that it “exceeded expectations” when it sold 4.1 million Lumia handsets in a “solid” Q4 2012. During that period, the Finnish firm actually sold 9.3 million Asha smartphones — and that doesn’t even include Asha feature phones — demonstrating the device’s potential. While Nokia slipped to its lowest overall handset market share ever — 18 percent in Q4, according to Gartner – the research firm did note that sales of the Asha range, which includes touch screen and keyboard devices, were impressive.
Nokia launched the Asha range in 2011 to target “the next billion” people in emerging markets.
Image via Hushenpaul