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Microsoft KIN Preview

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 Microsoft KIN One Discontinued
Worldwide release cancelled

12th April 2010, Updated 1st July 2010

One of Microsoft's worst-kept secrets, the Microsoft KIN range consists of two new phones combined with a new Windows-based mobile platform that offers a highly integrated social networking and multimedia experience.

The most striking handset in the range is the KIN ONE, with a compact rounded square design and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.

A more traditional layout is the KIN TWO, which looks a lot more like the black slabby phones that we're used to. The TWO has a larger screen than the ONE, and it also has an 8 megapixel camera compared to the 5 megapixel unit in the ONE, and the TWO captures HD video. Both cameras are meant to work well in low-light conditions.

At the time of going to press, the exact specifications of these two phones is unclear, although we do know that they support GPS, WiFi and 3G connectivity.

 Microsoft KIN TWO

Underneath, both KIN phones run some sort of version of Windows Mobile, and the sleek looking interface reminds us more of Windows Phone 7 than the clunky old Windows Mobile interface. And in fact, it's the KIN software which is probably the main selling point of this phone, which starts with the "KIN Loop" homescreen which brings together updates from social networking sites and newsfeeds. "KIN Spot" is the KIN's way of allowing users to share material, acting as a central repository for media files and status updates. "KIN Studio" synchronises content with Microsoft's "cloud" servers, meaning that data is backed up and the owner can access it from anywhere. The KIN also features the Zune media player and can integrate with Microsoft's own music download service.

 Microsoft KIN The KIN was developed by the same team who came up with the T-Mobile SideKick range, but in this case the wireless carriers will be Verizon in the US and Vodafone in Europe, along with Sharp as a technology partner. Microsoft must be hoping to put the SideKick Data Disaster behind them, where Microsoft's "cloud" servers suffered a catastrophic data loss last year.

Verizon say that their version of the KIN phones should be available from May onwards, Vodafone are not saying yet when they will have it.

Although this does all seem to be a very slick approach, it's worth bearing in mind that rivals such as Motorola already do something similar with their MOTOBLUR service. But Microsoft's offering does seem to be very interesting, and with the muscle from two of the world's largest operators behind it then it could well be a success.

You can see more of KIN at their website, and also their YouTube channel of

Update: the worldwide release of the KIN has now been cancelled, click here for more information.


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