Microsoft Targets Social Networkers With KIN

Microsoft took the wraps off of two new mobile phones designed for social network users. Known as the KIN One and KIN Two, the new phones are the result of a partnership with Verizon Wireless, Vodafone, and Sharp.

“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,” said Robbie Bach, president of the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft. “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.”

Both phones come with touchscreens and slide-out keyboards. The 4GB KINOne is a more compact model with a vertical slider whereas the 8GB KINTwo has a horizontal slider with more advanced features. The cameras on both phones have built-in image stabilization and LumiLED flash. You'll find a 5 megapixel camera on the KIN One and an 8 megapixel camera with high-def video recording capabilities on the KIN Two.

Described as a phone built for the youthful audience, the KIN family weaves social networking into the entire phone experience. The home screen (aka the KINLoop) displays feeds from Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter in a single location. Another area of the phone known as the KIN Spot lets you drag videos, photos, texts, Web pages, and other content to a single area of the phone and share that content with others. The KIN Studio puts the information from your phone on the Web. The KIN Studio automatically backs up texts, call history, photos, videos and contacts, and creates a personalized digital journal.

Recognizing that music and photos are a big part of people's lives today, the KIN includes the Zune Music & Media player and provides one-click uploading of photos. KIN owners can use a Zune Pass subscription to download music and video content.

The new phones will be available exclusively through Verizon Wireless beginning in May. Vodafone will get the handsets in the fall; at that time, they will be available in Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom.