LINE, NHN Japan’s super-popular social app, is getting another push in Japan. KDDI, the country’s second largest mobile carrier (around 35 million customers), announced it will take LINE into its so-called “au Smart Pass” service.
That service makes it possible for subscribers to access a pool of about 500 Android (paid and free) apps that were “filtered” and approved by KDDI for free. It’s basically a mini, carrier-controlled app market that’s only open for subscribers (I described Smart Pass in more detail here).
au Smart Pass is a big hit with now 2 million subscribers who can download a special version of LINE onto their Android handsets starting Monday next week.
That version has two distinctive features: Smart Pass users will get a set of exclusive emoticons (see below), and they will be able to pay for others via KDDI’s own carrier payment service Kantan Kessai (through the monthly cell phone bill).