Known as the Microsoft Pink, Pure, and Turtle by the tech rumor mill leading up to their launch, Microsoft in the end seems to have ditched these monikers for something far more Seussian. Dubbed Kin 1 and Kin 2, both handsets are aimed squarely at the texting, Facebooking, and Twittering masses of young adults immersed in a digital world that the rest of us picked up post puberty. Subsequently, their relevance in your life may only be as potential gifts for any upstart teens you might be funding. Still both sets do offer some interesting features that are worth mentioning.
First off, both are based around a unique operating system that shares much of the impressive Windows Phone 7 system’s bones. The UI is completely custom though and clearly geared to fconnecting people via all manner of social media outlets. Nomenclature wise, “Spot” and “Loop” are the two big UI elements distinguishing the phones from others. Loop is basically the home screen which updates users with content from friends through all of the major social networks. This feed can be sorted and prioritized in a variety of ways to let users keep track of people of personal importance. Spot on the other hand is an ever-present green dot found at the bottom of the screen, which is designed to allow users to easily share any phone based content with contacts by simply dragging it to the dot.
Zune media playback is also fully integrated, however games are not. Those attached to the hip with iTunes will also be able to easily sync content to the device. Shamefully, neither phone will support third-party apps, Flash, or Microsoft’s alternative known as Silverlight though.
In terms of hardware, the Kin One is roughly square-shaped with curved edges, and is the less powerful handset spec wise of the pair. It sports a QVGA capacitive touch display, 4 gigs of internal storage, a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, and a full QWERTY keyboard to the delight of champion teenage girl texters everywhere. The Kin 2 bumps things up physically as a typical landscape QWERTY slider, and features a hefty 8 megapixel camera plus 8GB of internal storage. Both handsets include 3G, WiFi, and Bluetooth connectivity.
Since everything will eventually move to the cloud, Microsoft hopes to get a head start with its mobile users by bundling in a desktop web experience. This tool is designed to sync virtually all of your phone’s content with a computer, and provides users with the flexibility to free up storage space locally on the phone, since they can easily download anything they need in a pinch through the handset’s browser.
Pricing isn’t currently available, but Microsoft has informed the tech obsessed public that each handset will hit Verizon starting in May. We’ll update you with those details once they arrive.