Perpetual beta !

What is Perpetual Beta? Perpetual Beta is one of the web 2.0 patterns mentioned by Tim O’Reilly. When the word “beta” was mentioned in any software, most people think it is going to contain new, unstable and most of the time, incomplete features. However, “beta” doesn’t necessarily mean a bad thing. Perpetual Beta is keeping the software/application constantly at the beta development stage for an indefinite period of time. Developers often continuously release new features into the system even prior to testing it fully. Generally speaking, perpetual beta is an application or software that is constantly developing during its delivery process. Although there may be incomplete features in the software or a number of bugs may be found, new features and functions are being added continuously. By following this web 2.0 pattern, developers find this is a rapid and agile approach to developing and deploying software.

Applications which follow this pattern will gain the benefits of:
– Faster time to market – earlier release date
– Reduced risk – bugs feedback
– Closer relationship with customers – engage with users
– Real-time data to make quantifiable decisions
– Increased responsiveness – increase willingness of changing the software


On June 23, 2011, an instant messaging application called LINE was launched. It was developed by Naver of NHN Corporation in Japan. Since then, LINE has grown into the best competitor against WhatsApp Messenger. In November 2012, LINE had more than 74 million users worldwide across 230 countries; and by January 2013, LINE had reached 100 million users and was gaining about 400,000 users daily. As of now, 150 million of people are using LINE. It has a range of functions such as free voice calls, voice messaging and photo sharing. LINE was initially developed for smartphone devices only, such as IOS and Android. However, on 7 March 2012, LINE expanded their service to desktop platforms such as Windows and Mac.


Release early and release often- After LINE has had launched, it had 3 major updates across different operating systems. The current versions are 3.6.1 on IOS and 3.6.7 on Android devices. Naver made more than 20 updates to LINE since its first release. Significant updates include adding the feature of sending Stickers, and most importantly, Timeline , which aims to be a competitor for facebook by letting users blog about themselves.

Engage users and co-developers and real-time testers – LINE encourages users to test out their new features and other similar products such as LINE POP, LINE Camera and LINE Tools. With the feedback given by the real-time testers through ratings on app stores or other channels, LINE are able to improve and update their products.

Incrementally create new products- Line does not only have incremental updates with new features, it also has created a range of new products such as LINE Brush, LINE Antivirus and LINE card, as well as other games.

In conclusion, I couldn’t find how LINE make operation a core competency and instrument the product, however LINE has followed the pattern of “Perpetual Beta” by allowing users to rate and test out their products, releasing new updates and creating new products. This allows LINE to continue update, refine and add new features, as well as provide reliable service to the users.



3 comments on “Perpetual beta !

  1. Hi Leo

    This Web 2.0 is a very interesting concept. The application will evolve when the time goes by providing us better and better services each times each time we use. Do you think the time will come that the application can’t find a way to improve anymore and become complete?

    Prapat W.

    • Hi Prapat,

      I think the evolution of an application really depends on the developers working on it, as we all know that many times developers may stop improving on the software for various different reasons. However, theoretically, there is always room for an application to improve on, as technologies evolve everyday to make older applications obsolete. We’ve heard that Google and NASA are working together to make a quantum supercomputer; imagine if this technology evolves to become a personal computer! Then, we’ll need new applications to work on these….and on it goes.


  2. Very nice post and very informative.

    I’ve never heard of Line before now, however I have to admit I have fallen behind on mobile software as of recent. I think your introduction was very true, when people hear Beta they do think of something unfinished, but as you mentioned this is a good thing as it is constantly being improved. And with mobile software where downloading updates is so easy, this becomes a very useful feature.

    As you mentioned its Line’s initial updates that allowed it to remain competitive against Facebook by allowing users to post to their timeline.

    Again very interesting post!

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