Microsoft targets "social generation" with new Kin phone

Posted by Aharon Etengoff

Microsoft has introduced a new Windows-based phone designed specifically for individuals who need help in "actively navigating" their social lives.

The Kin - which was "brought to life" via partnerships with Verizon, Vodafone and Sharp - supposedly blends the phone, online services and PC with "breakthrough" new experiences known as the Loop, Spot and Studio.

Microsoft targets "social generation" with new Kin phone"Working closely with our partners, we saw an opportunity to design a mobile experience just for this social generation — a phone that makes it easy to share your life moment to moment," trumpeted MS spokesperson Robbie Bach.

"We built Kin for people who live to be connected, share, express and relate to their friends and family. This social generation wants and needs more from their phone. Kin is the one place to get the stuff you care about to the people you care about most."

According to Bach, social networking is built into the very "fabric" of the Kin phone by way of a "fun and simple" interface that focuses on "people and stuff" rather than menus and icons.

"There are two models called Kin One and Two. Both phones feature a touch screen and slide-out keyboard. One is small and compact, making it a perfect fit for a pocket and to operate with one hand," he explained.

"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."

Microsoft Kin Phone 2Additional features include:

Kin Loop - Always up to date and always on, showing all the things happening in someone's social world by collating feeds from Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

Spot
- Allows Kin owners to focus on the "people and stuff" they would like 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.

Studio - 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, while simultaneously populating a personalized digital journal.

Zune experience - Kin is apparently the first Windows Phone to feature a Zune experience, which offers easy access to music, video, FM radio and podcast playback. 


Rich browser - Includes a "rich browser" with the ability to share pieces of the Web, local and Web search by Bing, along with an RSS feed reader.