If you are a young person who spends a lot of your life updating various social network statuses and sites, the new phones coming from Microsoft may be something you’re going to want to get your hands on. The Kin One and Kin Two will be hitting stores (exclusively on the Verizon network) this May, and will be available (through Vodafone) in Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom sometime this fall.
Kin One is a little palm-sized phone which works in portrait mode. It has a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard and a 5 megapixel camera. There is a 320×240 screen, VGA video recording capabilities, and 4GB of (non-expandable) storage.
Kin Two is a landscape version with a bigger screen. It also has the QWERTY keyboard, but it boasts an 8 megapixel camera. The Kin Two boasts a 480×320 screen, full 720p video recording, and 8GB of (non-expandable) storage.
These devices are not based on Windows Phone 7. Instead, they use a platform based on Silverlight which was built from the ground up for these phones. The two core components of this platform are The Loop and The Spot.
The Loop is the three-pane home screen. In one pane, you’ll find your news and social feed (such as from Twitter or Facebook). Another pane holds your contacts and the last one is where you access things like the phone or browser. As of right now, your contacts supports sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and (of course) Windows Live.
The Spot is a tiny circle found at the bottom of the screen. This is where you share content on your social sites. Drag things from your feed, browser, texts or email into The Spot. Now drag over your contacts with whom you want to share this little tidbit.
As with the SideKick, everything you do will be backed up in the cloud, via the new Kin website. Here you’ll be able to access your emails, texts and photos with a click of your mouse. There are no apps available, and you won’t find a calendar on the phones. However, there IS a Mac syncing client. This will let you sideload your iTunes music and iPhoto pictures from your Mac onto the Kin.
I don’t see these phones having much of a market outside of the teens and tweens who update their social status every 30 seconds. Although, I do happen to know many adults who do the same thing. Perhaps they’ll find this useful, as well. I’ve seen several people gripe at Microsoft for this very fact. However, think of it this way: those teens (and adults) I just mentioned make up a large share of the phone market. How many teens nowadays DON’T have a mobile phone of some type?
These phones aren’t “smart” phones, no. However, I do think the team in Redmond was quite smart indeed when they came up with this idea. NO ONE has come up with anything like it yet. I can already hear the begging and deal-making going on in homes all over the world. If you listen closely, you’ll hear about a bajillion voices telling Mom “I HAVE TO HAVE THIS PHONE.”
Photos courtesy of Microsoft