Microsoft launches KIN social networking phones

Well, those Project Pink rumours were on the money - Microsoft has officially unveiled its KIN range of 'social phones' and Vodafone will be launching them in the UK next month.


Aimed at a hyperactive 15-25 market, KIN One and Two have just one thing on the mind - social networking.


Manufactured by Sharp, the phones sync with Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, integrate Microsoft's iTunes-rival Zune, and are built around sharing stuff with your friends (all 547 of them). In fact, it's one of the neatest features about the phone - just drag any media file to a small area of the screen called the 'Spot', and you can pick the friends or social networks you want to share with.


The homescreen is known as the 'Loop', a busy, Motorola DEXT-esque place where you'll be checking out news feeds, upcoming events plus updates and tweets from your nominated favourite friends.


There's also KIN Studio, an automatic online backup service for media, messages and contacts, and Microsoft has finally packed in the full Zune experience, with Zune sync, music and video playback, and if you use Zune Pass, the ability to download songs from Zune Marketplace.


One thing to note is that while the phones have aspects of Windows Phone 7, they're not smartphones, so you can't download Windows apps, for example. The browser is a full HTML one though, so websites should look the way they would on a PC.


The compact squareish KIN One is apparently operable with one hand, with a decent 4GB of storage and five-megapixel camera. KIN Two will be the pricier model, with a larger screen, more memory, and an eight-megapixel snapper that can also record HD video. Both cams are meant to be good in lowlight and feature autofocus and an LED flash.


No word on pricing or tariffs, but for now, Vodafone is the only announced UK carrier and both handsets will land in May.

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