Microsoft unveiled two handsets today – KINONE and KINTWO -- focused on addressing the social networking needs of young adults. Powered by the recently launched Windows Phone (aka Windows Mobile 7) operating system, the handsets were designed and manufactured in collaboration with Sharp Electronics. The devices will be exclusively available on the Verizon Wireless US network in May, and on the Vodafone network in Germany, Italy, Spain and UK later this year. Device and service pricing have yet to be announced.
“Quick messaging devices are evolving,” says Jeff Orr, mobile devices senior analyst for ABI Research. “Text -only communications environments are shifting to incorporate a rich, efficient multimedia experience. An intuitive user interface that encompasses voice, messaging, images, video, and browsing is essential.”
Designed to maximize efficiency and control in mobile social networking, the KIN slider phones feature high resolution cameras that automatically geo-tag and upload a user’s photos and videos for instant sharing and social network updates.The KIN devices also feature the company’s Zune music player and an FM radio tuner.
Another interesting feature, the KIN Studio, is a device-specific cloud account that will store and backup all the data generated through these handsets. “These devices offer everything a hyper social user needs to instantly document and broadcast every detail of their lives across popular social networks,” notes mobile device analyst Michael Morgan. “Having all of a user’s contacts and pertinent social data stored in a Microsoft vault creates the potential for a very sticky service.”
Questions about these new devices and priority audience remain. Is Windows Phone ready for primetime? Can social media be the centerpiece for the adoption of a mobile device?