At an event in San Francisco, Microsoft announced two social networking cell phones that the company will launch next month. Dubbed the Kin One and Kin Two, these phones will not run Windows Phone 7, the mobile OS Microsoft announced in February. Microsoft's Robbie Back said at the event that Windows Phone 7 is a general offering but this social phones for a specific audience.
So far the details about the two devices are actually pretty scant. The Kin Two didn't even make an appearance on stage; all demos were done with the Kin One, previously known as the Turtle.
The demonstrations we saw talked extensively about the UI but barely touched on the specs. One of the main things is that you can make the distinction between which friends you want to see updates from and which ones you don’t. Between all the people you have on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace etc., you can arrange things so that the handful of people you're close to in real life show up more often than the others. Microsoft's Derek Snyder referred to this as a sort of front row.
The home screen on this device is called the Loop. The Loop is sort of similar to Windows Phone 7's live tiles. It's a constantly updating stream of updates from your friends across all your social networking sites. This is where you'll benefit the most from selecting a smaller group of people to appear more often around your phone. We're guessing this would be way too crowded if all of your Facebook, MySpace and Twitter friends were all there at once.
The next thing is the Spot. The Spot is a little green blob at the bottom of the display which is basically an "instant share" zone. If you see something you want to share (be it a website, video, photo, blog, or whatever), you just drag the page to the spot and it shares it automatically to the person or people you want via the medium you've selected.
Lastly you've got the Kin Studio. Both of the Kin phones utilize cloud storage to a huge extent and they do this by storing everything on the Kin Studio. Everything you do on your phone, whether it's you contacts, your text messages, status updates, photos or videos is stored on your Kin Studio. You can view all of this information as a timeline too, so you can automatically pull up a certain day, week or month and check out how your phone looked at that time.
No word on pricing or launch. Verizon just said to look out for it sometime in May. We'll keep our eyes peeled for more information when it comes to specs. So far we know that the Kin One features a 5-megapixel camera and the Kin Two features an 8-megapixel camera that shoots in HD. They both pack an LED flash for taking pictures in low light settings. The Kin One comes with 4GB of storage and the Kin Two comes with twice that.