Microsoft will make its Kin One and Kin Two phones, targeted at a younger social-networking demographic, available May 6, according to a purported internal report from Verizon posted on Slashphone. That same report suggests that the phones will be launched into all sales channels starting May 13. Microsoft is only confirming that the Kin phones will be available sometime in May. Along with Windows Phone 7, Kin represents Microsoft's hopes for reclaiming both mind and market share in the mobile space.
Microsoft's upcoming Kin One and Kin Two phones will be made available for
presale May 6, with "launches to all channels on May 13," according to a
purported internal report from Verizon. The phones are targeted at a younger
demographic, with applications and hardware designed for optimized social
Screenshots of that report, and the paragraph with the presale and
launch-to-channels dates, were posted on Slashphone
on May 2 before being circulated on tech
blogs such as Engadget
Microsoft declined to confirm those specific dates.
"KIN will be available exclusively from
Verizon Wireless in the United States
beginning in May," a Microsoft spokesperson wrote in a May 3 e-mail to eWEEK. "KIN
will be available from Vodafone later this year in Germany,
and the UK."
first unveiled the Kin One and Kin Two phones during an April 12 presentation
in San Francisco
, where Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's Entertainment
& Devices Division, told the audience that the devices' target demographic
was "the sharing generation" for whom "social life is their priority No. 1."
To that end, the Kin One features a sliding form factor reminiscent of the
Palm Pre, with a physical QWERTY keyboard and a touch screen, as well as a
5.0-megapixel camera capable of shooting SD video. The Kin Two also features a
sliding QWERTY keyboard and touch screen, while the physically longer form factor
accommodates an 8.0-megapixel camera and stereo speakers. The phones lack Flash
support for the browser, a memory card slot, instant messaging and games-but
Microsoft is nonetheless betting that users will want to spend their majority
of time with the device snapping images and posting their latest missives to
Facebook and other social networking sites.
According to some analysts, the Kin One and Kin Two could prove a hit if
they manage to capture the attentions of that demographic. The other question,
of course, is also how the Kin line will reflect on Microsoft's larger mobile
offering, the upcoming Windows Phone 7.
"I would argue that Kin may be the more important product of the two OS
offerings," Jack Gold, principal analyst of J. Gold Associates, wrote in an
April 13 research note. "Kin is a bigger gamble, whereby Microsoft is trying to
define a new market niche. If it catches on, Kin could usher in a new class of
-Facebook in Your Pocket' devices, just like the iPhone created a class of
devices for Internet-centric users."
But Gold also feels that several conditions stand between the Kin and
"Success will depend on how well Studio and Windows Live support integrate
with the phone, and since only Microsoft can deploy a new service to the
device, how well it does so is critical," Gold wrote. "Success will also depend
on what types of service plans are available, how they're priced and how good
the service is (i.e., the AT&T/iPhone fiasco would be a killer for Kin).
Finally, what specialized services will the carriers offer to try and garner
some of the potential cloud revenue?"