Microsoft launch KIN Social Networking Phones


Microsoft launched two mobile phones this week that are based on a new flavor of Microsoft’s upcoming mobile operating system, Windows® Phone 7.

The mobile phones, named KIN One and KIN Two, come with an entirely new interface that puts social services such as Facebook, Twitter and newsfeeds at its core.

“If you are focused on social connection, self expression and a digital life, how do you bring that to a phone?” says Robbie Bach, president for entertainment and devices division at Microsoft. “As we were working on Windows Phone 7, we decided we had an opportunity to go after this social group of people?”

KIN One is a petite, rounded device with a 2.1-inch screen. KIN Two is a larger, palm-sized device with a 3.5-inch display.

KIN One has a 5-megapixel camera, while KIN Two sports an 8-megapixel camera. Both phones have multitouch displays, an accelerometer and video-recording capability, as well as hardware keyboards that slide out from underneath the screen.

Mobile phones that integrate closely with social networking sites have been a huge trend with handset makers in the last two years. Almost every major phone maker, including Motorola and HTC, has phones that integrate Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, MySpace and newsfeeds into a single stream on the phone’s display.

Microsoft’s latest mobile phones are based on the concept of sharing, and try to bring the PC and the phone closer, say company reps.

The mobile phones use some components from the company’s latest operating system, Windows Phone 7. But it isn’t exactly the same OS that powers this device, says Bach.

Think of it as a fork in the road for Windows Mobile 7, where Microsoft has taken some components from the OS and added a new interface layer to create the KIN phone, says Microsoft.

KIN phones will have three home screens. The first includes access to e-mail, phone, newsfeeds, photos and browser. Swipe to the left and the next screen throws up a stream of status messages updated from contacts and newsfeeds. Swipe to the left once more and the third screen is a list of favorites marked by the phone users and what their social status says right then.

What makes the KIN different, says Microsoft, is that it automatically backs up all its contents on a password-protected website. This idea of storing information in the cloud means users can access their photos, videos, messages and even call history from a browser anywhere and don’t have to just depend on their mobile phone.

The service offers unlimited storage, says Microsoft and it will be free.

KIN also integrates Microsoft’s Zune digital music service. The phone’s music player has the same interface as the Zune HD. It also includes access only to Bing search.

The mobile phones have been manufactured by Sharp and will be available on Verizon’s Wireless network in May 2010 and on Vodafone in the UK and Europe in autumn 2010.

To read more about the new Microsoft Windows KIN Social Networking Phones, including specifications and features, visit the KIN Cell Phones website here

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