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The LINE VoIP and Messaging application was first released on June 23, 2011 by the Japanese arm of South Korea based NHN after the Tohoku earthquake set the company on the road to the discovery that a data service would work and be more efficient than the network currently in place. It was after this realization that the company decided to design an app accessible on multiple platforms, spanning smartphones, tablets, and desktops. This application would be compatible with the existing data network and provide a continuous and free calling and messaging service.

According to sources, the name LINE originated from the fact that people had to line up outside of public phones after the earthquake, because in Japan the public phones "are programmed to take priority over networks during and after an earthquake".

As of May 2, 2013, LINE had over 150 million users worldwide and grew to surpass 200 million users by July 23 and then hit 230 million in late August. The number of users then skyrocketed to 300 million by late November 2013. Most of these users weren't necessarily active. However, by March 2015, LINE reported 205 million active users.

Popular LINE games and add-ons include LINE Play, Disney Tsum Tsum, the LINE Bubble series, and LINE's payment service.

Some features of the multi-platform LINE app include the sharing of recent developments in life to friends in real-time, optional address book syncing, sharing of files with friends, location sharing, create and join groups, Home and Timeline features, and more. This is in addition to a large number of games and add-ons have been created specifically for the app by LINE's developers, all of which tack on additional functionality and features.

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