Microsoft launched two new phones on Monday, aiming the low end smartphone market, where Research in Motion nd Apple now dominate.
The new KIN Windows Phones are designed specifically for young people who are actively navigating their social lives, according to Microsoft. Brought to life through partnerships with Verizon Wireless, Vodafone and Sharp, KIN is designed to be 'the ultimate social experience' that blends the phone, online services and the PC with new experiences called the Loop, Spot and Studio. KIN will be exclusively available from Verizon Wireless in the U.S. beginning in May and from Vodafone this autumn in Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.
KIN has a simple interface. Its hardware design was developed in partnership with Sharp to create a new kind of social phone. There are two models called KIN ONE and KIN TWO. Both phones feature a touch screen and slide-out keyboard. ONE is small and compact enough to fitin a pocket and to operate with one hand. TWO has a larger screen and keyboard, in addition to more memory, a higher resolution camera, and the ability to record high-definition video. The 5 and 8 megapixel cameras in ONE and TWO, respectively, are designed for use in low light with image stabilization and a bright LumiLED flash.
The home screen of the phone is called the KIN Loop, which is always up to date and always on, showing all the things happening in someone?s social world. KIN automatically brings together feeds from Microsoft and third-party services such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter all in one place. Users can also select their favorite people, and KIN will automatically prioritize their status updates, messages, feeds and photos. Another unique feature, the KIN Spot is a new way for people to share what?s going on in their world. It lets them focus first on the people and stuff they want to share rather than the specific application they want to use. Videos, photos, text messages, Web pages, location and status updates are shared by simply dragging them to a single place on the phone called the Spot. Once all the people and content are in the Spot to share, the consumer can choose how to share, and start broadcasting.
Almost everything created on the phone is available in the cloud from any Web browser. Photos and videos are freed from the confines of the phone and presented in an online visual timeline so they are easy to view and share. The KIN Studio automatically backs up texts, call history, photos, videos and contacts, and populates a personalized digital journal. And the KIN Studio gives users tons of storage to keep all those photos, videos, contacts and texts.
KIN will be the first Windows Phone to feature a Zune experience ? including music, video, FM radio and podcast playback. With a Zune Pass subscription, all those who use Zune software on their PC can listen to songs from Zune Marketplace on their KIN while on the go, or load their personal collection. KIN also has other features users want in a phone including a rich browser with the ability to share pieces of the Web, local and Web search by Bing, and an RSS feed reader to pull down information on people and stories from the Web.
Microsoft did not say how much the phones would sell for.