Today is a huge day for Microsoft as it christens its very first "Kin" phones. It's not just a new name, but a completely new way of tackling the mobile market, one of few areas Microsoft has admittedly struggled with from the beginning.
Instead of aiming for a really sophisticated, feature-rich device, Microsoft went for a more mass-market, simplistic approach with the Kin. The phones focus on texting and e-mailing, and offer streaming feeds of the latest communications between contacts.
The Kin One and Kin Two, the two devices that make up the brand's launch, are similar in terms of aesthetics and both run the exact same hardware. Kin Two comes with 8 GB of storage compared to its counterpart's 4 GB.
One of the best features of the Kin is its ability to sync to a PC, and instantly back-up all text messages, photos and videos, and contact info. Native support for such a useful feature is drawing praise from most early reviewers.
However, the praise really ends there. Unfortunately for smartphone fans, features that seem so critical in today's market - like uploading media to Twitter, a built-in GPS, or even a calendar app - are not part of the Kin's design. And many reviews criticize sluggish response times for even the most basic tasks (like texting).
Both phones do have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, and a digital camera with between 5 MP and 8 MP resolution, but it still seems like an outdated device to most. The streamlined communications with all contacts is nice, and so is the ability to back up vital content online, but the early reception appears to be that Kin is not going to overtake anything in the mobile space right now.
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