Get ready all you social networking fanatics because Microsoft’s Kin phones will be available for Verizon Wireless customers online May 6 for pretty good prices.
This launch window is in line with what we’ve heard before, but the Kin One will only cost about $50 after rebate and with a new two-year contract. The beefier Kin Two will cost about $100 with the standard new contract.
The handsets, made by Sharp, feel pretty good in the hand. The Kin One was aptly code-named “Turtle” and it is a tiny, vertical-sliding phone with a full QWERTY keyboard. It’s 3.25″ x 2.5″ x .75″ and it only weighs 3.9 ounces. It has a capacitive 2.6-inch QVGA display, 4 GB of internal storage, WiFi, 3G, GPS, and a 5-megapixel camera with a flash.
The Kin Two is the older brother and it has a more traditional horizontal slider form factor. It has a 3.4-inch HVGA capacitive touchscreen, an 8-megapixel camera capable of HD video recording, WiFi, 3G, 8 GB of internal storage and it measures 4.25″ x 2.5″ .75″. Both handsets use the Tegra APX2600 processor and run a customized version of Windows Phone operating system (please note, this is not a Windows Phone 7 device).
The hardware on both devices is pretty solid but Microsoft is really trying to draw in the crowds with its social networking-oriented software. Kin Loop delivers your friends’ updates from Facebook, Twitter and MySpace directly on your homescreen. A green dot is pervasive throughout the user interface because this “Kin Spot” enables you to quickly share content. Let’s say you’re looking at a web page, you can drag the page on to the spot, drag the contact you want to share with on the same dot and then that person will be sent the link and a picture of the page via e-mail or MMS.
What I really like about the handsets is Kin Studio, which will automatically back up your photos and videos to a web-based service. When your handset is running low on memory, the devices will delete photos it knows have already been backed up. Because the Kin Two does HD video, it will only back up high-quality videos up to 30 seconds. The web interface looks pretty darn slick, as you’ll be able to drill down by month, day and week, as well as share with your friends.
The handsets will also be the first phones with Zune software for media. It’s about as slick as on the Zune HD and you’ll be able to use Zune Pass for unlimited monthly streams.
Because these are such cloud-centric devices, you’ll need to sign up for the unlimited data plan for $30 a month on top of a minimum of a $40 monthly fee for voice. We have both handsets at IntoMobile HQ and will be putting the devices through the paces, so look for a review soon. Hop on after the break for the full press release.
SHARE LIFE AS YOU LIVE IT – KIN NOW AVAILABLE ON VERIZON WIRELESS NETWORK
Broadcast and Share Everyday Moments on the Nation’s Most Reliable Network
BASKING RIDGE, N.J., and REDMOND, Wash. – For people who want to keep up and share everything going on in their lives with the people who matter most, Verizon Wireless and Microsoft Corp. will make KIN available online on May 6. Designed specifically for people who are actively navigating their social lives, KIN blends the phone, online services and the PC. Both KIN phones feature a touch screen and slide-out QWERTY keyboard, making it easy to:
• Always stay in the loop: With the KIN Loop, all of your favorite people and things you love are right on your home screen in real time. You tell KIN who and what is important, and it delivers the latest updates from your favorite websites and social networks such as Facebook®, MySpace and Twitter. You can discover and share, all from one place.
• Share your story with the world: The KIN Spot is the new way to share. Share almost anything – photos, texts, Web pages – with almost anyone. Since the Spot is always on your screen, it’s unbelievably easy to drop stuff into the Spot and send by text, e-mail or social network update.
• Your phone, on the Web: With the KIN Studio, almost everything on your phone – messages, contacts, photos and videos – are backed up to a private, password-protected website where you can visit all of your memories anywhere there is a computer. And with virtually unlimited storage, there’s almost no limit to what you can keep.
• Capture and share all your memories: The KIN Camera captures all the moments that matter most, and makes it easy to share them. The KIN ONE has a 5 MP lens while the KIN TWO has an 8 MP lens and shoots video in HD. With anti-shake, autofocus and an LED flash, KIN lets you take amazing pictures, even in low light, and post or share them with just one touch. And all your memories are backed up with tons of storage in the KIN Studio.
• Tunes and info – at your fingertips: Find what you need on the go:
o Zune – KIN is the first Windows Phone to feature a Zune experience – including music, video, FM radio and podcast playback. With a Zune Pass subscription and Zune software on your PC, you can listen to millions of songs from Zune Marketplace on your KIN while on the go or load from your personal collection.
o Bing – Web and Near Me (location-based) search.
o E-mail – Support for all popular Web-based mail, POP/IMAP services, as well as Exchange for business e-mail and contact sync. Each e-mail account has its own screen so it’s easy to navigate.
o Browser – With KIN, you get full, rich PC-like browsing. You can pan, scan and zoom in and out using touch gestures. And browsing is social; it’s easy to share a snapshot of the website you’re viewing by dragging it to the Spot.
Pricing and availability
• Starting May 6, KIN is available online at www.verizonwireless.com and will be available in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores on Thursday, May 13. KIN ONE is available for $49.99, and KIN TWO is available for $99.99, both after a $100 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement. Customers will receive the rebate in the form of a debit card; upon receipt, customers may use the card as cash anywhere debit cards are accepted.
• To get the most from KIN, Verizon Wireless customers will need to subscribe to a Verizon Wireless Nationwide Talk plan and an Email and Web for Smartphone plan. Nationwide Talk plans begin at $39.99 monthly access. Email and Web for Smartphone plans start at $29.99 for unlimited monthly access.
• For additional information on Verizon Wireless products and services, visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store, call 1-800-2 JOIN IN or go to www.verizonwireless.com.
• For more information and a specification sheet, please visit www.KIN.com.