Microsoft announces 2 new phones with social networking bent

Mon, Apr 12, 2010


Microsoft on Monday took the wraps off of its much-rumored Pink initiative and the results were, not surprisingly, underwhelming.

Apparently looking to capitalize on “the social” – because it worked out so swimmingly for the Zune, Microsoft introduced two new phones aimed at kids/teenagers with a particular emphasis on social networking and easily sharing information with friends.

The phones, titled Kin One and Kin Two, are manufactured by Sharp and curiously don’t run either Windows Mobile 6 or Windows Phone Series 7. Instead, the user experience is entirely unique and customized.

The Kin One, which had earlier been dubbed the “Turtle” is a slider phone with 4GB of memory, a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, and a full on slideout QWERTY keyboard. The Kin Two, meanwhile, looks like a bloated BlackBerry Curve and sports an impressive 8 megapixel camera and comes with 8GB of memory. Now you might have noticed that 4GB and 8GB of internal storage are conspicuously low, but that’s only because you’re under the assumption that these phones will run third party apps. That’s right, Microsoft is going after kids by offering them a phone that won’t let them play any games. Brilliant!

So what makes the Kin One and Kin Two so special? Well, Microsoft is touting the fact that Kin users will be able to store all of their photos and video up in the cloud and seamlessly access it on their phone anytime they want. And lest ye forget, the Kin will help you “organize your social life.” Umm, sure.

Engadget elaborates on what Microsoft is hoping will be the Kin’s killer features:

The big two features unique to Kin are being called “Spot” and “Loop.” Loop is sort of the Kin’s home screen, aggregating social content from your friends (Twitter, Facebook, and so on) roughly based on order of priority by how you sort your contents, so you don’t have to see as many updates from people you don’t follow too closely. Spot, meanwhile, is an ever-present green dot at the bottom of the screen where you can drag content — just about any content, be it maps, images, status updates, videos — and share it with contacts. Think of it as an “Attach” button in your messaging client, but on steroids.

Both phones also include support for Zune music and video. Both models will make their US debut on Verizon in May, while Vodafone will begin selling the devices in Europe sometime this fall. No word yet on pricing.

Does anyone honestly think that this user interface will be appealing to anyone?


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