A Second Chance for Microsoft's KIN phones

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Remember Microsoft’s Kin – the multi-million dollar effort to create a line of social phones? While the phone barely lasted two months in the marketplace before being unceremoniously dumped, Verizon Wireless is hoping to breathe new life into the messaging devices. The wireless giant is selling the Kin ONE and TWO at lower data fees for $120 and $220, respectively, or $20 and $50 with two-year contracts.

Both phones feature a touchscreen and slide-out keyboard. ONE is small and compact, making it a perfect fit for a pocket and to operate with one hand. TWO has a larger screen and keyboard, in addition to more memory, a higher resolution camera, and the ability to record high-definition video. The 5 and 8 megapixel cameras in ONE and TWO, respectively, are designed for use in low light with image stabilization and a bright LumiLED flash.

Launched back in April, the two Kins were “designed to be the ultimate social experience that blends the phone, online services and the PC with breakthrough new experiences,” according to Microsoft’s website.

“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, back in April. “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 handsets featured the Kin Loop which automatically brought together feeds from Microsoft and third-party services such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter all in one place, making it easier to stay connected. The Kin Spot allowed users to drag snapshots, URLs and anything else you wanted to share with your fellow social networkers. And the Kin Studio was a private webpage that organized all your daily Kin activity—phone calls, text messages, status updates, everything—into a minute-to-minute timeline.

Such features, however, have disappeared in the new Kin ONEm and TWOm reincarnations. Users who want to use Facebook or Twitter will have to do so over the standard Kin browser.

 

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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