The US gets Kin straight away, but Europe has to wait till autumn for Microsoft’s social animal
The newly announced Kin has a touchscreen and a slide-out keyboard and is an out-and-out social networking phone for consumers designed to help them “publish the magazine of their lives”. The phone emerged form Microsoft’s long-running Project Pink, and also owes a lot to the Sidekick, a hand-held device owned by Microsoft whose “cool” was blown a little when Microsoft lost many users’ personal data in a backup failure.
Yet another iPhone killer?
“Mobile social networking is increasingly having strong appeal for our customers,” said Patrick Chomet, group director of terminals at Vodafone. “KIN has a unique and intuitive way of engaging with the user, enabling them easily to share experiences and stay in touch with their friends.”
Rumours have surrounded Microsoft’s Project Pink for some time, and it is believed that Danger, the company which makes Sidekick, was involved in creating the new devices. The devices as delivered bear a strong resemblance to the Sidekick. The phones are made by Sharp – who made Danger’s Sidekicks.
The phones were developed in parallel to Microosft’s Windows Mobile 7, the latest version of Microsoft’s unpopular smartphone operating system, which was launched at Mobile World Congress in Barcxelona in February. Windows Mobile’s market share is sliding against iPhones and RIM Blackberrys. As it turns out the Kins will be branded as “Windows Phones” and will have the same underlying fundamentals of Microsoft’ Windows Mobile operating system, but with a much-revamped user interface.
The phones also – in particular the smaller Kin Two phone pictureed here – resemble the Palm Pre, the phone with which Palm hoped to revive its fortunes. Despite critical acclaim, the Pre did not fulfil the role of an “iPhone killer”, many Pres have remained unsold and now Palm itself is reportedly up for sale,
Vodafone would not give exact delivery dates or price information.