Actually, it’s Kin One and Kin Two. I had my heart set on a “next of kin” joke, but I came up empty.
No matter, Microsoft has been throwing out plenty of straight lines this week with the Kin intro. These two phones are aimed at “the social generation” — further defined as the 15-30s who are “social networking enthusiasts.”
As such, the world of Kin is not a very grown-up place. It’s built with parts of Zune and the possibly soon-to-come Windows Phone 7. These phones are designed especially for the young ’uns — you know, with all that cool stuff the kids like to do.
They offer “the Zune experience,” except for one glaring omission: apps. So there will be no game-playing around these parts. Flash? Uh-uh. Kins are simply designed to be the perfect tool for social networking. Except for one other glaring omission: instant messaging.
But then that’s understandable, because they only connect to the Internet every 15 minutes. That interval is unchangeable (though you can force a manual connection). Hey, what’s a 15-minute delay between friends.
Watching the video demo, the interface does have some interesting features for its intended audience. And both models have pretty good cameras (although no photo or video editing). You can upload to any site that Microsoft chooses to enable — which currently does not include Twitter. Well, who uses Twitter, really.
To me, the two Kins just feel like a misread of the market. They don’t seem to be all that good at the one thing they’re supposed to do. More important, I question the need for a “kiddie” phone in the first place. The social networking crowd has plenty of great smartphones to lust after already, all of which provide a ton more capability. A Kin may be enough for a 15-year-old, maybe. For the 30-year-old, no way.
One thing these models will offer is an excess of logos. They’ll come wearing the badges of Windows Phone, Sharp and either Verizon & Vodaphone. I’m not sure if they’re all trying to take credit — or just spreading out the blame.