Japan-based mobile messaging app Line wants to be known for more than just its virtual stickers and games. The company recently announced it would be adding voice calls from the Line app to landlines and mobile phones. In the coming weeks the new paid feature will launch in the U.S., Japan, Mexico, Spain, Thailand, and the Philippines.
Line already offers free voice and video calling to other Line users around the world. But the addition of voice calling to virtually any number brings its services up to par with popular messaging applications such as Skype and Viber.
U.S. pricing for Line's voice calling feature was not announced, according to Engadget.
Hot, hot, hot
Mobile messaging apps are all the rage after Facebook recently picked up Whatsapp for a cool $16 billion and another $3 billion in restricted stock units. Whatsapp also recently announced it would be adding voice calling to its services.
While Whatsapp was by far the blockbuster deal thanks to its wide 465 million monthly user reach, it wasn't the only recent acquisition. Japan-based Rakuten recently acquired Viber for a much smaller price of $900 million.
There has also been some acquisition talk about Line. Recent reports claimed that SoftBank was seeking a stake in Line, but the company later denied those rumors, according to Reuters.
Line currently claims around 340 million users.
Not to be outdone by its competitors, other messaging apps are also making their products more desirable to users. WeChat is rolling out a new Walkie Talkie feature that allows you to share voice messages with groups. Privacy-centric messaging app Telegram is also getting some attention, helped in part by a recent WhatsApp outage.
In addition to its new voice calling service, Line also plans to open up its popular sticker service to amateur and professional artists. Previously only available to partners, any Line user will soon be able to create and sell their own virtual stickers via the app's sticker market.
This story, "You've got a call on Line, too: Line announces voice calls to traditional phones" was originally published by TechHive.