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Kin One

Kin Two
"My phone is my lifeline. My social glue. My next of kin."

Microsoft today unveiled its "Project Pink" phones which are aimed at the growing social networking scene. The new phones are now known as the Kin One and the Kin Two.

With more people becoming more addicted to social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter, it's only natural that Microsoft would want in on a piece of the action with a mobile device specifically targeting the sector.

The new phones are geared more towards a younger audience; specifically teens and young adults. Microsoft calls these “young folk” that want to keep in contact with their acquaintances, celebrities they follow on Twitter, and really close friends "sociologists".

"Windows Phone 7 is about simplifying your life," said Robbie Bach. "Windows [Kin] is about amplifying your life."

The new Kin phones are based on a Windows CE core, sharing similar design themes, but not the full-fledged general purpose operating system capabilities of the upcoming Windows Phone 7 smartphone operating system.

The Kin phones will also naturally integrate with the Zune Marketplace which will serve up and music and video content -- music can be streamed to the Zin One and Kin Two over Wi-Fi or 3G. However, if you're looking for Xbox Live gaming -- as seen in Windows Phone 7 -- you'll need to look elsewhere. And just in case you were wondering, there's no support for third-party apps, Silverlight, or the ubiquitous Adobe Flash.

The Kin Spot, which is invoked by a green button on the keyboard, brings up a little green dot on the screen. You can drag status updates, photos, videos, and events to the Kin Spot and instantly share it with your friends via Facebook, email, MMS, etc.

The Kin Studio allows you to see your phone on the internet using any browser. Your contacts, photos, videos, text messages, and calendar events are all web accessible using a simple user interface. It also serves as a huge online backup database for your phone -- so if your phone is lost, everything is easily restored from an online backup. Microsoft also sees the web as an extension of your user storage, so the 4GB or 8G of storage on the Kin One and Kin Two respectively shouldn't really matter all that much to the end user.

The Kin One is a tiny phone with an equally tiny QWERTY keyboard that slides out from the bottom (portrait view). The Kin One features 4GB of internal storage, a 5MP camera (with LED flash), a mono speaker, and a QVGA screen. The Kin Two is a larger phone with a more traditionally-sized smartphone screen and a landscape keyboard. It features 8GB of internal storage, an 8MP digital camera, stereo speakers, and an HVGA display.

Both the Kin One and Kin Two feature 3G radios, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connectivity. Verizon will be the exclusive carrier for both phone in the U.S. when they launch later this May. Pricing is not yet available.

Microsoft definitely thinks that it has an audience with these phones, but we can't help but think that these two phones will end up being snapped up mostly by tweens and teenagers who'll be texting away in class. That being said, it seems as though young adults (as pictured in all of Microsoft's press materials and Kin video footage) would want a more full-featured phone like a Motorola Droid, iPhone, or Windows Phone 7 smartphone to carry around with them instead of something that is just geared towards social media.





"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007







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