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Microsoft Unveils 'Pink' Phones As Kin One and Two 278

adeelarshad82 writes "Microsoft has recently launched two new phones known as the Kin One and Kin Two, previously codenamed 'Pink.' The phones are designed to appeal to social-networking-focused teens, which is probably why the marketing team has tried to spice up the packaging of the phones. According to a Microsoft official the phones are named Kin because they 'knit together ... kindred spirits.' The phones have a keyboard. The Kin One has a 5-megapixel camera, while the Kin Two's 8-megapixel camera can shoot 720p HD video. Both cameras include an LED flash. The One has a mono speaker, the Two's is stereo. One includes 4GB of on-board memory and the Two has 8GB. Both Kin phones have touch screens. According to the hands-on, the Kin phones are based on the same Windows CE core as Windows Phone 7, and they have an IE-based browser. These phones have no downloadable apps, no games, not even a calendar. They're not meant to be expandable smart phones; instead, very good messaging phones."
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Microsoft Unveils 'Pink' Phones As Kin One and Two

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  • Way to go (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kranerian ( 1427183 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:35PM (#31837478)

    "These phones have no downloadable apps, no games, not even a calendar. They're not meant to be expandable smart phones; instead very good messaging phones."

    Nice job, Microsoft. Way to ignore the growing trends in favor of your own way. After all, you certainly know better than those lousy consumers.

    In all fairness, though, they'll probably sell like hotcakes in the niche market they're designed for. I just don't see it as a very big market.

  • by rsborg ( 111459 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:37PM (#31837522) Homepage

    Whatever they do now seems to be a pale caricature of reality... why is this the case?
    Were they always this clueless?

    It's sad... so much talent.

  • Potential... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DevStar ( 943486 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:38PM (#31837524)
    When I first saw the phones I thought "loser". I was comparing it to the iPhone, Nexus One, WP7, etc...

    But then it became more apparent that it's competing against the EnV and the Rage. What Verizon calls MultiMedia phones. It will likely be on the lower priced data plan (or maybe they'll make one between teh $10 and $30/month package). Given a choice between an EnV or a Kin, the Kin is an easy choice. If MS were to clean up the multimedia phone space at Verizon, I think you'll suddenly begin to see a new market emerge. Although it's a surprisingly tough market, because I think a lot of it hinges on the data center and carrier integration.
    Watch how this plays out. I think it possibly flops, but could be iPhone like huge, but to a totally different market.

  • Kin dle? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AtlantaSteve ( 965777 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:39PM (#31837564)

    We know that Apple protects their branding to a ridiculous degree... essentially arguing that any name with an "i" in front it threatens their intellectual property. So I wonder if Amazon will have anything to say about this new product? If I saw a news story about the "Kin Two", and the headline didn't qualify it as a Microsoft thing, my first assumption would be that it's a new version of Amazon's ebook reader.

  • Kin? Pink? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rantastic ( 583764 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:41PM (#31837590) Journal

    Is it just me, or do the marketing folks at Microsoft have some serious deficiencies when it comes to naming products? Lets not forget The Monad Shell.

    I guess this is what happens when they try to be creative. Otherwise everything is called either Windows, Business, or Office Something.

  • by irreverant ( 1544263 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:43PM (#31837634)
    I recently purchased the HD2, it'd be a great phone had it not crapped out on my the third day, I would be happy with it. Android has taking a big share of the mobile market, I just hate it because it's more of a niche market - more for the social-network user - i don't care for rsa and do enjoy the windows platform; i like that i can use it as a gps modem with my laptop (ICS) some call it tethering, the only saving grace for the phone is it's huge screen which dwarfs most phones. Microsoft needs to get their "ish" together and make a reliable stable mobile platform. I don't want to choose between the iPhone, Android, or Blackberry only because no one else will step up.
  • Re:Way to go (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:52PM (#31837796)

    In all fairness, though, they'll probably sell like hotcakes in the niche market they're designed for. I just don't see it as a very big market.

    I'm guessing that niche is "parents who can be convinced by advertising that they're buying what their kids want".

  • IM Support (Score:5, Interesting)

    by greg1104 ( 461138 ) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:56PM (#31837868) Homepage

    It looks like the bet they're making is that including Facebook and Twitter support is a complete replacement for the traditional IM client. I'm not so sure that decision is so terrible from a marketing perspective. The trend I'm seeing is that old school IM clients just aren't as popular among less serious users nowadays; I get Facebook messages from all sorts of people I know would never bother getting a "real" IM account, or who have never figured out they already have one via Gmail.

    Ultimately the real limitations of this phone aren't going to apparent until the matching data plan is announced. How much it will cost to download all the Twilight ringtones and background images that will obviously be introduced for this phone? These are the important questions. So far we already know that updates from some sites are put into 15 minute batches [engadget.com], presumably to same on network bandwidth, which doesn't bode well.

  • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:03PM (#31837980)
    I suspect that since it has no downloadable apps, that "bleeding edge" isnt really a concern.

    Only needs a CPU good enough to run the included apps. Probably dont even need a GPU. With application control, you also get reliable antialiasing (only fonts that look good included) so perhaps a regular 100DPI display may be good enough (iphones and recent ipods sport a 200DPI display, if I am not mistaken,) the battery probably wont need to be nearly as good, the memory probably doesnt need to be nearly as fast either...

    There are probably lots of ways to cut costs here without sacrificing much beyond that initial sacrifice: no downloadable apps

    The iphone reportedly costs ~$200 in parts
  • Re:IM Support (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:09PM (#31838102) Journal
    The slightly more pessimistic hypothesis would be that IM is basically SMS; but without the length restrictions and billed as "data" rather than "text". Leaving IM out probably increases the phone's attractiveness to carriers.

    Particularly if they are trying to move this thing as a cheaper "teen" alternative to the smartphone proper(just as the sidekick was the cheaper alternative to the blackberry), they'll need carrier cooperation in the form of somewhat cheaper data plans. Leaving out IM, and thus padding SMS usage, might well be the quasi-hidden subsidy that they need to make that happen.
  • by hawks5999 ( 588198 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:16PM (#31838226)
    Just 2 Weeks after Nielsen reports that Smartphones are Projected to Overtake Feature Phones Next Year [marketingcharts.com], Microsoft goes big for the Feature Phone market.

    Who's running things over there?

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:23PM (#31838324) Homepage

    It's sort of like a Blackberry for young people. Or the Hasbro/Tiger Clueless Organizer [hasbro.com], version 2.0.

    It's about time for the toy companies to move into the phone space.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:55PM (#31838834)

    It's like comparing getting hit in the face with a pillow to getting hit in the face with a baseball bat. One is just an annoyance, the other, not so much.

  • Re:Way to go (Score:5, Interesting)

    by McBeer ( 714119 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:55PM (#31838842) Homepage

    "These phones have no downloadable apps, no games, not even a calendar. They're not meant to be expandable smart phones; instead very good messaging phones."

    Nice job, Microsoft. Way to ignore the growing trends in favor of your own way. After all, you certainly know better than those lousy consumers.

    I was talking to my 23 year old sister about this phone. Here's an interesting snippet

    [17:02] Sister: it looks cool
    [17:02] Sister: too bad it's not sprint
    [17:03] Me: Yeah. It'll be interesting to see what price details emerge this month
    [17:03] Sister: it's cool you don't have to get apps for it, the features are built in
    [17:03] Me: haha all the nerds are holding that against it
    [17:04] Sister: and the camera capability is good!
    [17:04] Sister: i don't want to have to hunt around for 20 apps
    [17:04] Sister: it would work right away

    Not only did she not care about the lack of app store, she saw it as a bonus. It looks like MSFT was definitely listening to a consumer segment when they designed the phone. It will be interesting to see just how many people like my sister there are out there.

  • Re:Azure Data Grab (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cybrthng ( 22291 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:59PM (#31838902) Journal

    How does drivel like this get modded up? Microsoft has one of the best privacy policies of any of the cloud computing systems, probably better than the telco that most "Smart phone" users have for their contracts. IE, it isn't the azure/cloud platform you have to worry about.

  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @05:30PM (#31839274) Homepage

    "Onboard storage, however, is not the point, according to Microsoft executives. In fact, both phones serve as a portal to the cloud, storing photos, videos and other data on the network, rather than on the phone. Neither phone, for example, has an SD card slot, executives said. 'Thousands of customers walk into our stores every month and ask us, how do I get photos off this phone?' said John Harrobin, Verizon's vice president of digital media.'"

    Oooh, "portal to the cloud." Well, then, that answers all criticism.

    The younger generation just totally gets putting their pictures in the cloud. Verizon will transmit and store them for free. The cloud storage will be accessible to, compatible with, and interoperable with with their friends' iPhones. The risque pictures they upload will be secure and private. The concept of storing them in an SD card is way too technical for the target market to comprehend. Not.

  • Re:Potential... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @06:21PM (#31839734) Homepage

    Yeah, I actually kind of like this, coming from Microsoft.

    Here's the thing: for the past decade or so, I haven't been a huge fan of Microsoft. They're big and lumbering and sloppy. One of the things I've commented on here before is how Microsoft's design philosophy is different from Apple's, and how Apple's is basically better. The short version: Apple's first release of a device is relatively simple, but very well put together and targeted toward specific uses and maybe even a specific audience, and then they add new features and evolve the device over time, giving an excellent user experience. Microsoft, on the other hand, tends to try to cram every possible thing into the first generation of their device, and it's such a big mess that it has to be redesigned, have bad features stripped out, etc. As a result, Microsoft earned a reputation for having their products be completely unusable until v.4, and even then you want to wait for SP1.

    So to me, it's refreshing to see some discipline and restraint in the design for a Microsoft product. I want to say, "Yes, don't put in every single feature you can think of and the kitchen sink. Start by making sure that whatever the device does, it does it well. Build from there."

  • by bigngamer92 ( 1418559 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @10:18PM (#31841314) Homepage Journal

    With MS you make your computer a zombie. An Apple computer makes a zombie out of YOU!

    And Google makes an index card of your information. Really good quote by the way.

    As far as the phone goes though, It sounds like they've built a very thin client for the phone, not a wise choice in my opinion, but if they can keep the cost low, then it would do exactly what a phone was made for, communication.

  • Re:Azure Data Grab (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Onemadboy ( 1003176 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @05:29AM (#31842978)
    Microsoft Global Compliance Handbook from wikileaks - http://file.wikileaks.org/file/microsoft-spy.pdf [wikileaks.org] Any agency can issue a subpoeana and Microsoft will comply for an account over 180days old. Under that a court order is required. Verizon has basically the same policies without any account age restriction http://www22.verizon.com/about/privacy/policy/#info [verizon.com]

Remember Darwin; building a better mousetrap merely results in smarter mice.