Hands-on with the Microsoft KIN ONE and KIN TWO

Hands-on with the Microsoft KIN ONE and KIN TWO
Beating themselves almost literally to the punch, Microsoft's KIN ONE and KIN TWO are two products that somewhat stray from the usual trodden path that Microsoft has been known to traverse for the longest of time. Geared towards the twenty something crowd that grew up with the major expansion of the internet, these two devices are aimed to keep individuals connected with one another through the mix of social networking sites out there that keep everyone in the loop. Manufactured by Sharp, there is a totally separate element that makes the KIN devices unique and vastly stands to become something more than a regular feature phone (yeah, they are not smart phones). Integrating the best aspects we love about social networking sites, a rich multimedia experience, and the ability to share content through a cloud base service, there is just something different in the overall experience that will hopefully keep owners interested and yearning for more.

Interestingly enough, we were surprised at how compact the KIN ONE was out of the box because it surely felt good holding in the hand. Despite its diminutive size, some of its key features include a 2.6” QVGA touchscreen, 5-megapixel auto-focus camera with flash, and 4GB of internal storage – all of which is crammed into its square-like form factor. Sliding the phone up reveals its QWERTY keyboard that's seems wide enough to make it feel less cramped.

As for the KIN TWO, the beefier version of the two, comparisons to the Palm Pre come to mind partly due to its striking resemblance when closed. With its overall plastic exterior, the KIN TWO definitely has more weight on it to exude that feeling of durability accompanying it – but its design isn't anything to write home about. The multimedia experience is showcased with the KIN TWO as it features a 3.4” HVGA touchscreen, above average 8-megapixel auto-focus camera with flash, a healthy 8GB of internal storage, and the ability to shoot videos in HD 720p.

Although its specs and looks aren't as impressive as some high-end phones, Microsoft's intentions can be found in the software running behind the scenes. Social networking is the name of the game for the KIN devices because it offers a different approach from the usual ones we experience on other platforms. Not considered a smartphone by any means, KIN is expected to integrate the best aspects of being connected to friends by its ability to share content via the KIN Studio – an online haven for you to check out all your photos, videos, and messages. When it comes to sharing, you can simply send items like RSS links, a status change on Facebook, or even a tweet to friends, by simply dragging them into the KIN Spot. Naturally pricing will come into play on whether or not it'll be attractive for prospective buyers – the KIN ONE will be selling for $49.99 while the KIN TWO at $99.99 after mail-in-rebates and both will require a standard smart phone data plan at $29.99.  We know you're all looking forward to these two bundle of joys from Microsoft, but please feel free to leave a comment or any questions you might have on these handsets as we will surely be testing them out to see what they're all about. Expect our in-depth review soon!

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