Microsoft's Pink phones launch as KIN, targeted for youth market

The rumors surrounding Microsoft Pink phones have been around for quite some time, but I am still amazed by how much has been kept silent with the expansive testing program Microsoft had in place. These devices are targeted at the youth market and should not be compared to higher end smartphones.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

Let me start off this post by saying if you are reading this blog here on ZDNet then you are most likely NOT the target market for these new phones. Microsoft purchased Danger and then set out with a distinct project team designed to create a mobile phone experience for the people in their teens to late 20s. They created and ran a rather incredible program with real young people and I have to say I am still quite amazed that all of these people were able to keep the project so quiet. I had the pleasure of hearing all about "Pink" (now known as Kin) at Mobius last Fall and think that my teenage daughters would love to have these devices. When Microsoft rolled out Pocket PC several years ago they took the PC and shrunk it down to a handheld form factor and thankfully they started from scratch here and created an operating system that looks nothing like a desktop PC. It is modeled more after a magazine and now that you have seen Windows Phone 7 you can understand that "Pink" phones are a slightly different slimmed down version that may serve as perfect first devices before people move up to a WP7 device.

Can Microsoft support yet another mobile OS?

I have read Tweets from people asking why in the world Microsoft is making another mobile phone operating system. Honestly, Microsoft is a huge company and if they continue to support and develop Kin as an almost independent organization then I don't see why they cannot succeed with devices targeted at enterprise (Windows CE), the youth (Kin), and higher end smartphone user (Windows Phone 7). Microsoft as a brand is quite strong throughout the world and they really do not have to limit themselves to a single mobile operating system. There are millions and millions of people who want a fairly cheap phone and don't want all the functionality in a full featured, expensive smartphone and I think that is where Pink fits in well. The devices are actually quite capable out of the box, but do have some limits on application expandability and advanced functionality. That is not where they are trying to succeed though so those of us who write about mobile phone operating systems need to understand that Kin is not intended to take on Google Android, webOS, or Apple iPhone so those comparisons should not be made.

Rather, take a look at Kin and then compare BREW, Bada, and other feature phone operating systems. Kin phones are much more capable with Zune integration, advanced social networking capabilities, an intuitive and customizable user interface, and plans that allow young people to actually use their smartphones.

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