Microsoft unveils Kin handsets

Microsoft unveils Kin handsets

Summary: Previously known by the "Pink" codename, Microsoft unveils the Kin handset. The handset aimed at the "Social Generation".

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Previously known by the "Pink" codename, Microsoft unveils the Kin handset. The handset aimed at the "Social Generation". 

Two handsets announced:

According to Microsoft, while Windows Phone 7 is supposed to simplify life, Kin is meant to amplify it.

The idea seems to be that your social life is integrated into views, and you share stuff with others by dragging items onto "the Spot" and choose how to share that information.

The handset integrates with Zune ... a nice idea but I think that the "Social Generation" would prefer integration with iTunes.

Kin Studio mirrors the contents of the handset (photos, videos, messages, call history ... ) and places it on the web. Photos and videos automatically geotagged. This is an interesting feature.

Verizon is the exclusive service carrier partner in the US. No dates or plans announced just yet, but we "should look for Kin in stores next month, in May."

Some questions:

  • What differentiates this handset from an iPhone or Android? What can the Kin do that these handsets can't using third-party apps?
  • How responsive will Microsoft be to evolving social media? New features are being added constantly and unless Microsoft keeps up with the pace of change, Kin users could find themselves being sidelined.
  • Sure, we're seeing social/mobile convergence, but where are the walls and boundaries? Can we add different social networks?
  • Will there be developer support?
  • Will this idea gain traction amongst users? Zune's success so far is limited to say the least.
  • Prices?!?!?!?!?! Data plans?!?!?!?!!?

Topics: Microsoft, Hardware, Mobility

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21 comments
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  • Adrian....

    Maybe just maybe their are folks who really want Zune. We find it superior than Itunes. And others want Zune for its deep integration with social activities.
    Some folks just want anything but Apple.
    Three distinct groups all willing to forgo what is the industry leader and for their own reasons embrace the Zune platform.
    CrashPad
    • Completely agree: Zune rocks

      I'd LOVE downloading as much music as I like AND I get to download and keep 10 tracks per month for $15 per month. AWESOME!

      I've saved a small fortune using Zune's music service as I can now listen to entire albums without having to buy them. Those that I really love, I either download using my monthly credits or I buy the album outright so I can keep it forever.

      FAR better solution than paying someone for each and every track you want to listen to.
      de-void-21165590650301806002836337787023
      • Well I guess that works for you

        and a few other Zuneheads.
        GoPower
    • I like it

      For it's simplicity. None of that app crap, no filling up my player with useless junkware. And honestly, I feel as if the player itself is far superior to the iPod.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • I personally like Zune.

        I've tried both and much prefer Zune. Personal opinion, I know, but I figured I'd say it for what it's worth.
        rlorenz
    • How many of you out there?

      5? 20? 50? And where do you anti-establishment
      peeps sleep? I keed I keed :)
      dave95.
      • There would have been order of magnitudes more Zune customers

        if Microsoft has chosen to release it worldwide. It is a known fact that U.S is from far the most pro Apple market.
        Certainly that the Reality Distorsion Field of Steve Jobs is much stronger and much more effective there.
        timiteh
  • RE: Microsoft unveils Kin handsets

    The Zune software is far superior than iTunes, ask anyone who has used both for more than 5 minutes.
    Droid101
  • Too late to matter

    This would be a serious contender three years ago, before the iphone. It might have still stood a chance to differentiate itself from Apple before the Android cemented into peoples minds what makes a good smart phone (what Apple and Android together are doing, even if they compete with each other). 18 months ago It might have at least taken market share from Rim, but they look at least at first glace to have a better keyboard.

    But to release it now, well it is just a big pile of fail. The design is just not competitive enough, or edgy enough, or compelling. It's a me-too phone, in a world that is completely unimpressed.
    Tiranogh
    • Agreed 100%

      What may have been revolutionary some time ago
      seems limited now. Where the other plaforms are
      doing this in a clean and clear manner this looks
      like a toy with stuff scattered all over the
      screen. I get the artistic idea and the goal of
      capturing the younger crowd but the younger crowd
      has now been turned onto more capable phones. This
      will only sell if its VERY cheap.
      storm14k
      • And what make you think

        that they would not be cheap,especially the kin one ?
        From what i see these devices are aimed at competiting with the alike of s40 phones from Nokia and features phones from Samsung and LG. Not at competiting with iPhones and Android phones,especially in U.S. Assuming how s40 phones are popular, i think these devices, if priced correctly, can be incredibly popular.
        timiteh
    • You may be right

      It's hard to say. I have a lot of cousins/neices/nephews that get phones like the Samsung Rogue. The question is does this require the $30 data package, the $10 data package, or maybe a new $20 data package?

      If they could come in at $20 data package then I think it will do well. If it's competing on the same plan as the Droid then I think it will have struggle, and the Samsung Rogue will continue getting these users.
      DevStar
      • With streaming music and web...

        I am betting on the $30+/month data package.
        Bruizer
  • Already dated...

    This seems like one of those - "lets just release it because we've already spent way to much resources on development"

    Competition in the "Smart Phone" market is getting heated, so cost will surely begin to come down on phones. Data package prices will fall. SO really what's the point of this 'feature phone', now?

    Plus lets 'really' talk about walled garden...
    dave95.
  • RE: Microsoft unveils Kin handsets

    Why does anyone need apps for their phone, when most of what one needs is available on the Internet. All that's needed is a decent browser. With a device like the Kin anyone can capture what they need on the INTERNET and store it on a Cloud server. It's likely the Kin could satisfy a ton of users phone needs.
    groberts116
    • how about the fact that not all websites

      are written for mobile platforms, and as well guaranteed to work in all browsers. Not to mention, a native app can hold most of the visual elements, while merely downloading only the data elements, saving you tons in terms of data usage.

      Take like a Facebook app, much of the elements are stored locally on the device, and it only pulls down the feeds, where as a browser window will need to pull down all of the data, and if you have a limited amount of data, well this could mean a lot of money saved, or better mileage.
      Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
  • What advantage does this give a young user?

    Most of them are far more sophisticated than more mature
    users and can easily utilize a grownup smartphone to the
    max. Why do some developers think that you need to dumb
    down stuff for younger users!? I run into this attitude all the
    time with "experts" writing story boards for educational
    software content...sheesh.
    CowLauncher
  • Social Generation or Generation We don't know Privacy

    The phones look ok to me though not interested in it at all. I'd prefer Android or iPhone with apps.

    It reads "Tons of memory" but that's way less than what iPhone or iPod have. Deal breaker !?
    TxM2xTx
  • Will it have Full Web Experience?

    Or old school feature-phone mobile web? My guess is, and judging from the very small screen size it is the latter.

    Guess it's a new trend amongst teens to go backwards in tech.
    dave95.
  • KIN oath mate!!

    It's a phone for Aussies!!
    iTeaBoy