Microsoft and Verizon Wireless announced that the KIN ONE and KIN TWO smart phones will be available for order online May 6, 2010, and will be available for purchase in Verizon Wireless retail stores on May 13, 2010. The KIN phones are based on a modified Windows Phone platform, and both feature a touch screen and sliding hardware keyboard.
KIN is aimed at a young audience that likes to stay connected with friends and family via social networking and other online services. The devices feature a kinetic UI that constantly changes to alert users of their contacts' activities.
KIN also includes the Zune digital media experience—is, in fact, the first Windows Phone to ship with this functionality—as well as a Bing application, integrated email with multiple account support, and a touch- and gesture-compatible version of the Mobile Internet Explorer (IE) web browser.
The devices are more expensive than anticipated. The KIN ONE will retail for $150, and the KIN TWO will cost $200, though Verizon Wireless is temporarily offering a $100 mail-in rebate for customers who start a new two-year wireless plan subscription. And that wireless plan will cost as much as a full smart phone plan, or about $70 per month before taxes and other add-ons and fees.
My Microsoft KIN preview is available now on the SuperSite for Windows. I'll be reviewing the KIN in the coming weeks.