Microsoft Kin: You Kin do it when you One and Two it

Microsoft has announced Kin, a new series of phones aimed at social networkers. The Kin One and Kin Two are the first to arrive

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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Microsoft is in the family way with the new Kin range of phones. Based on the social network-tastic Project Pink, the Kin One and Kin Two are aimed at the all-networkin', all-sharin' generation.

The phones are the first to offer the Zune experience for listening to music and watching videos. They also pack GPS and capacitive touschscreens.

The Kin One, pictured above right, is a rounded square phone with a slide-out Qwerty keyboard, 5-megapixel camera with flash and 4GB of memory.

The Kin Two, pictured above left, is a slider with a rectangular slide-out Qwerty keyboard, 8-megapixel camera and flash, and 8GB of storage. It shoots 720p high-definition video.

The Kin handset home screen is called the 'loop' -- as in, 'keeping you in the' -- and aggregates your social networks. The mosaic-like real-time stream echoes the tiled design of the forthcoming Windows Phone 7, and cuts down on clutter by prioritising your closest kith and kin.

Swipe left for a contacts page that pulls together social-network updates by individual friend. Swipe left again for an app screen -- except it isn't: this is where your standard functions like email and calls live. There's no app store and no option to download apps. New apps can only be pushed to your phone as updates by Microsoft, according to erstwhile CNETeer Nate Lanxon at Wired.

Next up is the 'spot' -- as in 'the hot' -- which is a basket that sits at the bottom of every screen. Drag to the spot an item that you want to share, like a picture or link or text message, and the contact you want to share it with, then decide how you want to send or post. The Kins also access 'the studio', secure Web storage that syncs your phone's photos and videos to a timeline and map.

Both phones land in Blighty on Vodafone this autumn. Prices are yet to be confirmed. The Kin range looks like a curious mix of price-inflating features like those decent cameras and GPS, but with the glaring omission of downloadable apps. Whether that's a dealbreaker for the yoof remains to be seen -- pin your Kin thinkin' in the comments.

That naming convention could also be a nightmare. We reckon it can go as far as the Kin Four before things get confusing and we find ourselves in four Kin hell.