Messaging with pizazz

Messaging apps are all the rage, and Line is competing to expand its stronghold from its native Japan and into the U.S. market and beyond. Like WhatsApp, iMessage, BBM and others of that ilk, Line lets users tap into a closed network of users by way of their smartphones to send all kinds of messages. Like other messaging apps, Line lets you send 1-on-1 or group text, voice, video and photo messages, but also features a range of tools that let you customize messages with drawings (as you can in many East Asian photo booths.)

Sending messages is simple and fun, and users also have a variety of stickers at their disposal so that they can say in cartoon what they may not want to type out. Line is at a bit of a disadvantage because it’s not built in to users’ phones or hooked into a common service such as Facebook, but if you get your friends on it, that shouldn’t be a real problem. It also offers games (with in-app purchases) and digital comics — this is how the company makes most of its money. Free, for iOS and Android.

Hayley Tsukayama