LINE Puts AI at the Heart of Its Service

Beating competitors with cuteness.

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Tech
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Japanese messaging application LINE is joining the AI game. Earlier this year, the company announced it would be building a digital assistant and smart speaker. Today, at its annual conference in Tokyo, LINE disclosed new details about the products.

The company’s flagship speaker is called Wave which is powered by LINE’s voice-activated digital assistant Clova. The internet based AI system enables users to maintain calendars and tasks, control smart home gadgets, enjoy more than 40 million tracks through LINE Music streaming service and more.

More products powered by Clova will follow, including smart speakers featuring designs based on LINE’s popular cartoon characters such as Brown the bear and Sally the chicken. Champ is aimed to be a “more casual and more portable version” of Wave.

With the launch of its speakers and digital assistant, LINE is looking to move beyond its roots and expand its reach across Asia due to the strong customer base. For now, Clova is capable of only speaking Japanese and Korean. Chief executive of the corporation, Takeshi Idezawa, announced the corporation will be teaming up with Toyota Motor to develop connected car technologies using Clova. The embrace of AI would fulfill the company’s mission of taking its service to the next level, closing the distance in the post-smartphone era.

Wave is schedule to go on sale in Japan this fall for ¥15,000 ($136 USD).

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