What’s so special with Microsoft Kin?

Everybody was expecting for the ‘Pink’ phone, but what they got was a ‘Kin’ phone from Microsoft. Yes, Kin became the official name for ‘Project Pink’ that signalled the entry of Microsoft in the mobile phone world. Wait, Microsoft is making it clear that Kin is not a Microsoft phone but a Microsoft powered phone instead. Microsoft is saying that Kin is a phone made by Sharp, which is actually true. So should I call it Microsoft Kin or Sharp Kin?

Anyway, KIN is a new Windows Phone designed specifically for people who are actively navigating their social lives. social networking is built into the fabric of the phone. KIN has a fun, simple interface, which is designed to help people publish the magazine of their life by making the people and stuff they love the focus rather than menus and icons.

The hardware design was developed in partnership with Sharp to create a new kind of social phone. There are two models called KIN ONE and KIN TWO. Both phones feature a touch screen 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.

Other features:

– KIN automatically brings together feeds from leading Microsoft and third-party services such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter all in one place, making it easier to stay connected

– KIN Studio is your phone online. Almost everything created on the phone is available in the cloud from any Web browser

– KIN will be the first Windows Phone to feature a Zune experience — including music, video, FM radio and podcast playback

My concerns:

Is it not limiting for Microsoft to target only users who are into social networking? Its the killer app of smartphones now but looking at the future, is it a wise strategy to come up with a device specifically for social apps? I don’t know, they must be seeing something that I am not seeing. Social apps is the in-thing now, but for how long – we don’t know.

Another concern that I have about the KIN is its OS. Yes its a Windows Phone (OS) but not Windows Phone 7. It runs on an OS based on the same core elements as Windows Phone 7. So strictly speaking, KIN ONE and KIN TWO are ‘not’ Windows Phone 7 handsets. So my question is, how stable is this OS?

I am just wondering, since KIN is targeted as a social networking phone, how come it does not have instant messaging client, no appointment calendar, and no universal inbox, no photo or video editing and it does not support Flash. Are we going to see KIN THREE or even KIN FOUR soon?

At the end of the day, does Microsoft need KIN? For research and testing perhaps. Just like Google did with Android and Nexus One. But there’s a difference, Nexus One is a phone – KIN is a toy so to speak in terms of functionality and capability.

So can Microsoft seriously compete in today’s overflowing mobile market with KIN? Maybe it KIN, maybe it KIN-not.


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