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Mobile

Popcorn Buzz lets you hold a call with 200 of your closest friends

The free app is currently available only on Android but will land on the iPhone somewhere down the line, says its creator.

Three screenshots of the Popcorn Buzz app, which is designed to handle massive group calls.
Popcorn Buzz is designed to handle massive group calls. Popcorn Buzz

For the more popular among us, group calling seems to have just hit an awfully high milestone.

Japan-based Line, which offers a messaging app in 230 countries, has launched a new offering, called Popcorn Buzz, designed to let users engage in group calling with up to 200 participants at once. The app, currently available only on Android, can be downloaded for free, and all group calls -- including those that feature 200 people -- are free.

Line's ability to support 200 people on a single call is no small feat. The company has a host of competitors that offer group calling, but their limits tend to be much lower. For example, Microsoft-owned Skype, long believed to be the gold standard in Internet-based calling, can support up to 25 people on a single group call.

Line didn't say how it achieved bundling so many people in a single call, perhaps because it's a trade secret. The company argues that Popcorn Buzz could be a useful tool for consumers and enterprise users who want to hold massive calls but don't want to pay fees typically reserved for enterprise-focused software platforms to do it.

Using Popcorn Buzz is similar to using other calling apps. You create an account and find others to communicate with. When you're on a call with up to 200 people, Popcorn Buzz shows each user's icon. A green dot over the icon tells others who's talking at that moment. Chances are, if there are 200 people on a call, that dot will be moving around awfully quickly.

Popcorn Buzz is available now in the Google Play marketplace. According to Line, the free download requires Android 4.0 or higher and is available globally. An iPhone version, as well as the addition of group video chat, will be available at some point "in the future."

Line did not immediately respond to a request for comment.