First DJI, now Bang & Olufsen gets Line Friends-themed products

Line is a pretty busy company. Beyond a messaging app that claims over 160 million users, the company operates service like music streaming, manga, food delivery, games and it is also venturing into crypto. The company has long been known for its playful characters — Line Friends — which are a core part of its […]

Line is a pretty busy company. Beyond a messaging app that claims over 160 million users, the company operates service like music streaming, manga, food delivery, games and it is also venturing into crypto.

The company has long been known for its playful characters — Line Friends — which are a core part of its sticker sets, but now the zany cartoons are making their way to real-life products. Line has its own Echo-style smart speaker, and off the back of its Brown Bear-themed DJI drone, it is announcing a Line Friends Bang & Olufsen speaker.

Like the DJI Spark drone, the Bang & Olufsen speaker takes a well-known and popular product and appends Line’s cartoon characters in the name of sales through cuteness.

The speaker — ‘Beoplay B2 Brown Limited Edition’ — will go on sale from October 4 in Korea, U.S, Japan, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong via Line’s online store and its offline retail outlets. Pricing, it seems, is TBC.

The product may seem frivolous but it plays into a major strategy from Line, which has seen user growth of its core messaging app stagnate over the past 18 months. Line’s Friends characters have long helped it make sales — its sticker packs make over $250 million per year — so it makes sense to monetize them beyond digital sales and into physical products, which includes tie-ins with major consumer brands.

That’s a big part of Line’s success. While growth has topped out, Line is adept at finding new ways to make money from the users it already has. Revenue in its recent Q2 2018 was up 20 percent year-on-year despite monthly active user count falling by five million to reach 164 million in the quarter.

Bang & Olufsen’s pricey BeoSound line gets Google Assistant

Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are no longer solely the domain of super cheap smart speakers. Google, in particular, has been courting third-party hardware makers pretty aggressively in an attempt to put the consumer AI on as wide a range of products as possible. Bang & Olufsen’s BeoSound 1 and 2 certainly hit the high […]

Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are no longer solely the domain of super cheap smart speakers. Google, in particular, has been courting third-party hardware makers pretty aggressively in an attempt to put the consumer AI on as wide a range of products as possible.

Bang & Olufsen’s BeoSound 1 and 2 certainly hit the high of the spectrum. The pricey speakers are the first in the company’s line to get Google Assistant functionality, though B&O has already promised to add it across its devices. Both models already feature the tech necessary for such an addition, including an array of five mics.

The company’s also added four buttons on top of the device, which can be assigned to various functions, like weather, news and the like. New models will ship with Assistant on board starting next month, priced at of $1,750 and $2,250 for the 1 and two, respectively.