May 19, 2015
It’s pretty crazy how dependent on our smartphones we’ve become. But what makes these devices the amazing little companions they truly are, would be the many apps that we download and use daily. Like LINE, the messenger-app-turned-lifestyle-aide, or “Smartphone Life Platform” as they like to put it, which now has 181 million active users (and counting) in 230 countries, all enjoying the convenience of the ever-expanding Family apps available.
With the recent slew of payment apps flooding the charts on the app stores, shopping through our mobile devices has never been more convenient. And adding to our downloads soon, is LINE PAY, a mobile payment service that can be used in a variety of ways. All you need to do is to register your credit card details into the app, and everything else is just a tap on your touchscreen away.
Picture this: you’re one of the 14 lucky people in line to make payment for a super limited edition pair of sneakers. Just before it’s your turn to pay, you whip out your wallet and realise you’ve left your credit card at home. Panic sets in. Then, you discover the cash you have inside is only enough to fan yourself in this desperate time. There’s no way you’re gonna put down that extremely rare pair of kicks just to rush back to get your card. Your options: call a friend to rescue you, ask the staff is you can put it on reserve (highly unlikely this will happen) or surrender to the fact that fate is not on your side and to let the shoes go. Now imagine if you could complete your purchase using LINE Pay.
In-store payments are just one of the many ways that LINE is looking to expand this app. Other ways of using the app include paying for online purchases (provided that the store has a partnership with LINE), digital content (such as albums, singles and videos) and the usual payments on the LINE Store. In the near future, LINE hopes to enable their users to send money to each other as well.
At the moment, the app is still in its trial stage and only available in Japan. But, if you’re itching to try it out for yourself, you can (it’s available within LINE itself), but you’re only limited to making in-app purchases for themes, stickers and within LINE Games.
LINE Pay is avaialble in-app on LINE. line.me
GO BY WHICH WAY?
It’s the first sentence you can expect to hear after you’ve given the taxi driver your destination; that is if you can even get a taxi in the first place. And we all know, most of the time, it’s hard to get a cab when you really need one. Building on their ambition to become the hub of convenience for our daily lives, LINE has announced that they’ll be rolling out LINE Taxi, a service that lets you book a taxi without having to install any other apps (it’ll be built into LINE itself).
It’s currently only available in the metropolitan area of Tokyo (23 wards, Mikata City and Musashino City) through a tie-up with Nihon Kotsu Co. (Japan’s largest taxi company), which gives users access to about 3,340 cabs within these areas. LINE users in other parts of the world will have to wait just a little bit longer. The app uses the GPS functionality of the phone, inputs building information and designates pickup points directly. Approximate waiting times are displayed on the LINE Taxi map as well. Users can also enjoy a seamless, cashless payment process through LINE Pay.
SEEK AND YOU SHALL FIND
Knowing which store you want to go to is one thing, but knowing where it is in a shopping mall is another, especially if you’re the kind that just loves to shop from the comfort of your own home. Online shopping is convenient, but it will never beat the experience of physically entering a store, trying on different pieces of clothing and getting your purchases instantly.
So where do you begin when you enter a mall? You head straight to the directory, spend about five to 10 minutes trying to navigate the ultra modern computerised interface and then memorise where all the stores you want to visit are. No wonder you’d prefer to stay home. LINE Maps for Indoor looks to simplify this entire experience so that huge shopping malls become less daunting. It’s a new family app that shows you the inside of commercial buildings, and guides you through to the fastest way to get to the store of choice. There’s even a feature that lets users search for the closest bathrooms, restaurants, nursing rooms and other facilities within the building. Each store will display information such as their business hours, phone numbers, website address and more.
The app is available in many languages, including English, Japanese, Korean and Simplified and Traditional Chinese, which means tourists can use this app easily, provided they’re on an Android device (plans for iOS devices to be compatible with this are underway). At the moment, LINE Maps for Indoor is only supported in a number of tourism spots in Tokyo, such as Shibuya Hikarie, Lumine and Coredo.