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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

April 12, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Microsoft launches new social phone Kin

msftkin.jpgMicrosoft is launching Kin, a new Windows Phone for what it calls the social generation.

The touchscreen phone is set to be available from Verizon Wireless in May. The phone was designed for users who are constantly on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and makes it easier to update their status and upload photos and videos.

“This generation really does have a point of view. Let’s call it the social media generation,” said Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices division.

The company made the announcement at a news conference in San Francisco this morning.

The phone appears very similar to Motorola’s Motoblur service and software, which pulls together status updates, contact information and photos from Facebook and Twitter to the mobile phone.

Hail of bullets on the Kin:

  • Where you can get it. Verizon Wireless, the exclusive provider, is scheduled to start selling the Kin in May. The company declined to give information about rate plans. Sharp will make the phones
  • Models. The phone will come in two models, Kin1 and Kin2.. They each have a camera that does photo and video, and both have touchscreens.
  • Zune integration. The Kin will be the first mobile phone in the market that has Microsoft’s music service Zune built in.
  • Traits of this “social media generation.”

    “Friends, friends and friends.” That’s the thousands friends people have on Facebook who they know but don’t talk to, the famous friends they follow on Twitter, like Oprah or Bill Gates, and the 10 to 15 people they are actually friends with whom they care about.

    Lifecasting. Self-expression is really important to them, Bach said. “It’s like they’re constantly publishing a magazine about their lives,” he said, by uploading photos and status updates. “It’s read all about me.”

    Same experience, different screens. The social media set wants the same service to work on their phones and their computers. Bach didn’t mention the Apple iPad, but the tablet is another screen rising in usage.

  • The difference between Windows Phone 7 and Kin. Microsoft announced Windows Phone 7 with great fanfare in February in Barcelona, even though phones on that platform will not be available until the holiday shopping season. This morning, Bach sought to differentiate the two products. “Windows Phone 7 is about simplifying things in life. This social phone is about amplifying things in life,” Bach said.
  • Kin Spot. The screen has a green spot where users can drag and drop photos and video to upload to social networks or to services such as MMS.
  • Kin Studio. To make it a multiscreen experience, all photos, videos and contact information are stored online so users will not have to connect the phone by USB cable to a PC or move photos with an SD card. The Kin Studio makes the phone’s content — text messages, call history, or photos — available through a Web browser on a PC.

Photo: Microsoft

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