Microsoft, Sharp, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone have today unveiled KIN. This is a “social phone” designed to share your life, your special moments, your feelings and your thoughts. Those renders from last year are now a reality and will be arriving in May on Verizon in the USA. Europe will be getting in on the action when Vodafone start sales this autumn in Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.
This is branded as a Windows Phone and has been specifically designed for people and their social lives. It seems that Microsoft have done a huge amount of research whilst creating these phones with Robbie Back stating..
“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. 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 has a fun but simple interface in a “magazine” style. Out go menus, icons and lists, in comes tiles and slides featuring your pictures, videos and friends. On the home screen you have the “KIN Loop” which pulls updates in from Facebook, Twitter and other social networks with KIN filtering status updates, messages, feeds and photos for you. Plus, to share your world you don’t need to worry about who is on which social network or how they’re connected, just drag photos and videos to a “spot” for sharing.
Your KIN phone is also available on the web via the “KIN Studio”. Using this online portal you can access everything you’ve created on your phone – contacts, videos, pictures and messages. Forget ActiveSync, cables and drivers – everything is stored in the cloud, securely. It’s backed up and you get a visual timeline to make things easy. Share it with friends too.
KIN also includes a Zune experience with music, FM radio, podcast and video playback. A Zune Pass subscription wll be required but you can then listen to your favourite tunes on the go. Bing is integrated, as is a web browser and an RSS reader.
There’s two phones. The first is called the KIN ONE – see it here – it’s the smaller device that I compared to a “compact” earlier this week and has a pebble-shape with a slide-out QWERTY. It has a bright touch screen with a 5 megapixel camera around the back with a flash for low-light shots and standard definition video clips. It’s got 4GB of internal memory and a Zune powered media player. The second device, called the KIN TWO – see it here – it’s got a wider screen and also has a slide-out QWERTY. It’s ideal for two-handed texting and comes with an 8 megapixel camera with flash and it’ll shoot HD video (yep, HD video!). Stereo speakers power the Zune-powered media player and it has 8GB of on-board storage.
What’s your take on this? Personally, I’ve seen a lot of functionality similar to this on devices like the DEXT / CLIQ inside the “MotoBLUR” interface but it’ll be interesting to see more on the interface – I certainly like the style of the phones. Click on for the videos showing the phones in action.
Update – See more of the interface in action with two new videos below …