This is the launch day for the first models based on Microsoft’s new Kin platform. These are inexpensive consumer-oriented models created for people who primarily use their phone for texting, social networking and music.
Those making a purchase need to subscribe to both a voice and a data plan. Voice plans start at $39.99 for monthly access while data plans start at $29.99 for unlimited monthly access.
Both these devices are available now from Verizon’s website. They will be in this carrier’s stores on May 13.
An Overview of the Microsoft Kin One and Kin Two
The first two phones running Microsoft’s new platform will be the Kin One and Kin Two, which were designed by Microsoft and Sharp.
Both feature a Touchscreen and slide-out keyboard, but the One is more compact with a 5 megapixel camera and 4 GB of internal storage, while the Two includes a larger screen and keyboard, 8 GB of memory, and an 8 megapixel camera with the ability to record high-definition video.
Microsoft is calling these Windows Phones, but they don’t run Windows Phone 7. Instead, they are based on the new Kin platform, which has a completely different user experience from anything the company has done before.
Their home screen, called the Kin Loop, is made up of images and posts made from social networking services like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Users will be able to select their favorite people, and Kin will automatically prioritize their status updates, messages, feeds and photos.
The Kin OS includes a Web browser with pinch-to-zoom, local and Web search by Bing, and an RSS feed reader to pull down information from the Web.
In addition, the devices feature the Zune experience, including music, video, FM radio, and podcast playback. Users are able to load their personal collection with the Zune desktop software, or a Zune Pass subscription will let them listen to millions of songs from Zune Marketplace while on the go.
All the information stored on the phones is automatically backed up over the Internet to a service called Kin Studio, where users are able to view it online. If the device’s memory starts to fill up, older images, texts and other items will be removed from the device and saved in Studio.
A feature notably absent is a Kin Store, as there is no way to add third-party software.