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Messaging App Line Finally Launches An iPad App

Asian messaging giant Line, which has built a substantial business selling stickers and in-app games purchases to an engaged multi-million strong user-base of its free core app, has finally released a dedicated iPad app. It already had a desktop client, and multiple smartphone apps.

Last week the company also finally revealed details of the active monthly user count for its messaging service — pegging MAUs at around 170 million, with its registered users numbering 560 million. The core messaging service is free. Line monetizes via in-app purchases such as the aforementioned stickers.

The Line iPad app is described as a “sub-device” for the smartphone version, so it’s not possible to create new Line accounts on the iPad. Rather the idea is to allow existing Line users to get access to their friend lists and previously purchased stickers when using Apple’s tablet.

The app is not as fully featured as Line on smartphones. At launch, Line for iPad is pure-play messaging only, so there’s no support for voice or video calls yet. But images, videos and voice messages can be shared within text chats. Line says it intends to add more features to the app in time.

The app requires iPads running iOS 7 or above. Some 16 languages are supported at launch, with Line dubbing it a global iPad app. Expanding onto another device type expands Line’s reach, while seeking to make the most of the larger screened iPads to amp up Line’s appeal in multitasking scenarios.

Line is aggressively lining up new product launches to bolt onto its messaging platform, with a raft of planned launches slated for winter 2014 including Line Pay, to support making payments via its app or sending money to other Line users; Line Taxi, which looks like an Uber style on-demand ride hailing service but partnering with national taxi companies, starting in Japan; the soft launch of Line Wow, an on-demand food delivery service, again in partnership with an existing company; Line Maps for Indoors, targeting navigation in commercial facilities such as shopping malls, again starting in Japan; and Line Music, a subscription streaming service.

This is messaging being used as a platform for everything else that can be delivered digitally. Facebook start your photocopiers.

See the original post: Messaging App Line Finally Launches An iPad App

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Google finally begins allowing its Google Voice service to be integrated with Hangouts

Google appears to have finally hit the button to integrate Google Voice into Hangouts messaging service.

Android Police first noted that users are being given the option to migrate their Google Voice accounts in order to receive calls and text messages via the Hangouts mobile app. The blog notes that the services are integrated on desktops too

The consolidation makes absolute sense, and has been speculated for some time. The move puts Android on a par with Apple’s iPhones, which offer internet-based calls and text messages via its iMessage and FaceTimes services and are integrated into the core messaging and call apps within iOS.

Android Police says there are some hiccups — replies do not appear to be sending, from their experience — but it seems likely that any initial issues will be smoothed out in due course.

We’ve reached out to Google for comment, and will update this article with any further details that we are given.

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Read more: Google finally begins allowing its Google Voice service to be integrated with Hangouts

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The Poet, Scientist, Journalist, Boxer Approach To Entrepreneurship

Editor’s note: Zachary Hanson and Diogo Duarte are the co-founders of the Fidelity Network, a Miami-based brand loyalty startup. 

One of the great challenges for startups is figuring out where to start. Entrepreneurs believe that unless they build something now, their idea will become outdated or stolen by their competitor. However, that thought process is akin to running a marathon with one month of training. Yes, it can be done, but you run the risk of burning out and failing more quickly. What is needed is a contemporary guideline to help develop unadulterated focus for the new startup founder.

Great startup mentors understand this struggle, and the very best mentors soothe their disciples by telling them what to focus on in the beginning — things such as, iterating the core idea, creating a simple business model, or guidance on building the minimum viable product (MVP).

Based on our own experience with mentors and the chaotic birth of our startup, we have developed a linear remedy that all entrepreneurs can apply to improve their chances of success. Our theory is called “The Poet, Scientist, Journalist, Boxer Approach to Entrepreneurship.”

boxer-scientist

The Poet

“A poet is full of positive enthusiasm, his head is so full of ideas, that he can’t sleep until he expresses all his thoughts.”

The four-stage process starts with the poet. This stage is initiated the second that the proverbial “apple” falls on your head and you know that you have a great idea. The telltale signs of this experience are having trouble sleeping and feeling a mix between wanting to tell everyone about your idea and the feeling of paranoia that if you mention it someone will steal it.

Once you recognize that you have entered the poet stage, it is time to channel your inner Walt Whitman and put all of your thoughts down on paper. Putting your ideas in writing, ink to paper, is an important part of establishing a real understanding of your own idea.

Now, don’t worry about your tone or voice, just write as if you were planning to start a revolution — pour your heart and soul into it. Write your values, your vision, your goals, and focus on why and how your idea will change people’s lives.

Once you can’t squeeze anything else out of your brain, it’s time to put your lab coat on.

The Scientist

“The scientist’s goal is to find the core value for the customer, get rid of excess features, and start testing it.”

Step two, becoming a scientist, involves developing and releasing your MVP. With critical eyes, you must look back at the work of the poet and extrapolate the core theory and decide what is needed to test that idea.

Here, feasibility is key, which means that the scientist must only pick what is necessary to test the poet’s theory. The scientist, with the help of engineers, then builds a test experiment. This experiment should encompass the core idea and lead to the development and delivery of the MVP.

Once the MVP is shipped, you send the journalist out in the field to tell the story.

The Journalist

“Unlike the poet and scientist, the journalist is unbiased, neutral, and focuses on the voice of the customer (VOC). The journalist is careful not to lead the person he is interviewing, and tries to capture their every thought in order to learn.”

Step three is to become a journalist.  It’s now time to listen to the first users (also known as early adopters) and learn from them. You no longer stand on your pulpit preaching your product’s utility, but instead inquire and listen as to whether the user sees your products in the same light.

When interviewing users, it is important to ask open-ended questions that trigger enlightened responses. The journalist then takes all of the knowledge gathered from the users and drafts the company’s bigger story — the story about the marketable product, and how it will fit into and change the market you are entering.

Now that you have validated your original idea through science and journalism, you are ready to strap on your gloves and fight to take your idea to market.

The Boxer

“The boxer knows he has to be quick on his feet, focused, and strong to fight battle after battle. He always gets up from his failures with his head and hands held high.”

Becoming the boxer is the ultimate achievement for the startup founder. When you get to this point and lace up your gloves, you will be set to face many opponents from several weight classes.

As with any great fighter, it is imperative to study your opponents in depth. The boxer becomes an expert at dealing with pitching events, customers, investors, incubators and PR relations. Pictures of all of the upcoming opponents are hanging on the boxer’s wall as a reminder of the fight to come — and the boxer can’t wait to throw the first punch.

The moment the boxer steps into the ring, there is no turning back. There are 12 rounds to be fought in order to get your product to market. Every round you can either win or lose, but every time you return to your corner you will iterate with your mentors and adapt your product to the situation before heading back into the fight.

Given the nature of fighting, you will always run the risk of getting knocked out during any round (e.g. maybe you find out the market you entered is saturated, or your product is not going to survive), or conversely, you could knock your opponent out cold (e.g. maybe you receive a buy-out offer from a large company).

As a seasoned pro you know that those are the risks and rewards of the startup fight and that the battle could end early, but you always come prepared to slug it out for all 12 rounds.

No matter the outcome, the boxer always picks himself up, win or lose, and lives to fight another day.

Post Fight Interview

The journey to the ring is a long one. It takes time and patience to make sure that you are prepared to face your opponents, and at the end of the day you will always run the risk of failure.

That inherent risk is secretly (or not so secretly) what so many entrepreneurs crave, and just as the adrenaline junky throws himself off of a building to get his fix, it is time for you to prepare yourself to step into the startup ring and feel the rush.

Express your inner poet, build the experiment, tell the story, and make sure you are training for the fight.

IMAGE BY Bryce Durbin (IMAGE HAS BEEN MODIFIED)

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Samsung Galaxy S5 mini and Young 2 headed to the UK from August 7

Samsung has confirmed that the slightly smaller version of its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5 mini, will go on sale in the UK from August 7.

The device may be called ‘mini’ but it still offers a solid mid-range spec list, which includes a  4.5-inch 720p HD display, 1.4Ghz quad-core processor, 1.5GB RAM and an 8-megapixel camera on the rear. For comparison, the bigger brother S5 model comes with a 16-megapixel camera, 2GB RAM and a 2.5Ghz quad-core processor. The S5 mini does also offer the same fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor, though.

The company said the S5 mini would go on sale in the UK from August 7 from “selected online and high street retailers, including Samsung Experience Stores and Carphone Warehouse”. UK pricing still hasn’t been confirmed.

The second handset, the Samsung Young 2, is an altogether more low-end Android affair designed to appeal to more youthful (and therefore, cash-strapped) buyers.

Spec-wise, the Young 2 includes a 1GHz single-core processor, 3-megapixel camera, 3.5-inch HVGA display, the most recent version of Android KitKat (4.4) and Samsung’s updated TouchWiz UI.

Samsung said that the Young 2 would go on sale in the week following the S5 mini, but again, pricing wasn’t revealed.

With declining smartphone sales and close competition in the low-to-mid range from the likes of the Moto E and similar devices, Samsung will need to step up its game if it wants to keep consumers interested.

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Originally posted here: Samsung Galaxy S5 mini and Young 2 headed to the UK from August 7