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Microsoft unveils Project Pink as Kin social media phones for kids

post #1 of 84
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Project Pink, an internal effort built upon Microsoft's Danger acquisition, was officially revealed today at a "social event" which presented two new phones branded Kin and targeted at young phone users.

Like Microsoft's existing Sidekick phones sold through T-Mobile, the new Kin phones will be built by Sharp. However, the company has broke with T-Mobile to sell the phones through Verizon Wireless and its parent company Vodaphone.

Microsoft's presentation was limited on details, but Drake Martinet, who covered the event live for the Wall Street Journal's "All Things Digital" blogs, noted that "This product, it seems, will be built on a small, specialized version of Windows Phone 7."

Microsoft showed the expected two form factors, originally code named "Turtle" and "Pure," under their official names Kin 1 and Kin 2. "One is a candybar with a QWERTY [physical] board, the other looks like a smaller, round device with a slide keyboard," Martinet reported.

The Kin 1 hardware is a squatty form factor with 2.6" 320x240 display; a 5 megapixel camera with a bright LED flash and geotagging features; 4GB of storage, Bluetooth, GPS, and accelerometer; and a mono speaker.

The Kin 2 phone is a conventional candybar form factor with 3.4" 480x320 display; an 8 megapixel camera with a bright LED flash and geotagging features, and capable of recording HD-resolution video; 8GB of storage, Bluetooth, GPS, and accelerometer; and stereo speakers.



Microsoft played up Kin's integration with social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Myspace, saying "you can even update statuses to social networks."

The other features on the phones tie into Microsoft's other businesses, including Bing search with GPS-aware advertising as well as Zune music integration. The company didn't outline any third party developers working on applications, or clarify whether the Kin phones would ever run external applications or apps designed for the Windows Phone 7 models the company hopes to release this winter.

Kin phones evidently won't work with Windows Phone 7 apps, as Microsoft spoke of both as completely separate product lines, just as it positioned the Zune and PlaysForSure music players are separate products each running their own incompatible music DRM. Just like Zune and PFS, the new Kin, Zune and Windows Phone 7 are all based on the same Windows CE core operating system.

According to PC World report by Ginny Mies, the new phones don't offer any photo or video editing tools, no calendar support, no universal inbox, can't upload photos or video to Twitter, and do not support Flash or Silverlight. Their storage memory also can't be expanded.

In addition to being targeted at young people (the same audience as Microsoft's existing T-Mobile sidekick), a verizon executive joined the stage to emphasize that it expects the new models to also to parents "or anyone who is all about photos and video."

Microsoft has not released pricing details yet, nor have Verizon or Vodaphone. T-Mobile's low prices for mobile service have historically been a major reason why young users have been attracted to the Sidekick. The new phones are set for US release in May 2010, and a Fall release for Europe.
post #2 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Project Pink, an internal effort built upon Microsoft's Danger acquisition, was officially revealed today at a "social event" which presented two new phones branded Kin and targeted at young phone users.

Like Microsoft's existing Sidekick phones sold through T-Mobile, the new Kin phones will be built by Sharp. However, the company has broke with T-Mobile to sell the phones through Verizon Wireless and its parent company Vodaphone.

Microsoft's presentation was limited on details, but Drake Martinet, who covered the event live for the Wall Street Journal's "All Things Digital" blogs, noted that "This product, it seems, will be built on a small, specialized version of Windows Phone 7."

Microsoft showed the expected two form factors, originally code named "Turtle" and "Pure," under their official names Kin 1 and Kin 2. "One is a candybar with a QWERTY [physical] board, the other looks like a smaller, round device with a slide keyboard," Martinet reported.

The Kin 1 hardware is a squatty form factor with 2.6" 320x240 display; a 5 megapixel camera with a bright LED flash and geotagging features, and capable of recording HD-resolution video; 4GB or storage, Bluetooth, GPS, and accelerometer; and a mono speaker.

The Kin 2 phone is a conventional candybar form factor with 3.4" 480x320 display; an 8 megapixel camera with a bright LED flash and geotagging features, and capable of recording HD-resolution video; 8GB or storage, Bluetooth, GPS, and accelerometer; and stereo speakers.



Microsoft played up Kin's integration with social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Myspace, saying "you can even update statuses to social networks."

The other features on the phones tie into Microsoft's other businesses, including Bing search with GPS-aware advertising as well as Zune music integration. The company didn't outline any third party developers working on applications, or clarify whether the Kin phones would ever run external applications or apps designed for the Windows Phone 7 models the company hopes to release this winter.

Kin phones evidently won't work with Windows Phone 7 apps, as Microsoft spoke of both as completely separate product lines, just as it positioned the Zune and PlaysForSure music players are separate products each running their own incompatible music DRM. Just like Zune and PFS, the new Kin, Zune and Windows Phone 7 are all based on the same Windows CE core operating system.

According to PC World report by Ginny Mies, the new phones don't offer any photo or video editing tools, no calendar support, no universal inbox, can't upload photos or video to Twitter, and do not support Flash or Silverlight. Their storage memory also can't be expanded.

In addition to being targeted at young people (the same audience as Microsoft's existing T-Mobile sidekick), a verizon executive joined the stage to emphasize that it expects the new models to also to parents "or anyone who is all about photos and video."

Microsoft has not released pricing details yet, nor have Verizon or Vodaphone. T-Mobile's low prices for mobile service have historically been a major reason why young users have been attracted to the Sidekick. The new phones are set for US release in May 2010, and a Fall release for Europe.

Work harder and have something better than this Pink thing, MS may be able to Nail it... or come back Next time with other and better than iphone?
post #3 of 84
A key design imperative for anything that is going to be put into those small, destructive hands, is that it has to be robust. Otherwise it won't take long for the 'slide out' to become 'slide out snap off and start crying'.
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post #4 of 84
What's this? A well-balanced article from Prince about a competitor -- and it isn't laced with venom? Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeet, what has the world come to?

That being said, this should be great for tweeners on up to high schoolers -- nothing more, nothing less. College-age kids are gonna want something a bit more versatile.
post #5 of 84
Yeah, cool - and Ballmer can get Aerosmith to play their song "Pink" to go along with the promotional advertising.

What's that? No one told Ballmer what that song is about?

Uh, can we use a different song in the ad?
post #6 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

What's this? A well-balanced article from Prince about a competitor -- and it isn't laced with venom? Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeet, what has the world come to?

That being said, this should be great for tweeners on up to high schoolers -- nothing more, nothing less. College-age kids are gonna want something a bit more versatile.

Exactly, I don't see this as intended to compete with iPhone at all. iPhones aren't for everyone.
post #7 of 84
Wait, no sending pics of your junk to people?

Oh well someone needs to capture the 10-13yr old cell phone market I guess? Color me unimpressed.
post #8 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

What's this? A well-balanced article from Prince about a competitor -- and it isn't laced with venom? Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeet, what has the world come to?

That being said, this should be great for tweeners on up to high schoolers -- nothing more, nothing less. College-age kids are gonna want something a bit more versatile.

Although I love my MBP and most things Apple...I had to laugh, having read the article's headline on appleinsider, after having read Engadget's, BGR's and Gizmodo's articles...I know that this website is pro-Apple, but I don't think that it even pretends that it's not unabashedly subjective and highly critical of all things non-Apple. "social media phones for kids" --> this is the first and only article about the Kin phones today to have such a negative tone to it - dismissing the Kin phones as those befitting of "kids."
post #9 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Project Pink..... presented two new phones branded Kin and targeted at young phone users.

You mean/they mean "...... young girls who are phone users."
post #10 of 84
MySpace - that thing still exists?
post #11 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudpud View Post

Although I love my MBP and most things Apple...I had to laugh, having read the article's headline on appleinsider, after having read Engadget's, BGR's and Gizmodo's articles...I know that this website is pro-Apple, but I don't think that it even pretends that it's not unabashedly subjective and highly critical of all things non-Apple. "social media phones for kids" --> this is the first and only article about the Kin phones today to have such a negative tone to it - dismissing the Kin phones as those befitting of "kids."

You missed Gizmodo's coverage from today. This is what the title of their article said today before they wussed out and changed it:

Microsoft Kin: The Phone You'd Want If You Were 15

post #12 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

Exactly, I don't see this as intended to compete with iPhone at all. iPhones aren't for everyone.

My 5 year old can use my iPhone with ease. And they have parental controls. I'm not sure why an iPhone would be inappropriate for a teenager. I'm sure I'll think of a reason to say no in 8 years when my oldest becomes one, but I certainly won't hobble them with a Windows Mobile device!
post #13 of 84
The "Kin Spot" feature is a brilliant UI idea for what it is supposed to do:

http://kin.com/

This thing has the potential to be really successful. There are so many young people out there who don't wanne work, play or use apps on their phones. Seriously. The Zune Pass music streaming feature over 3G is a killer, IMO.
post #14 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

My 5 year old can use my iPhone with ease. And they have parental controls. I'm not sure why an iPhone would be inappropriate for a teenager. I'm sure I'll think of a reason to say no in 8 years when my oldest becomes one, but I certainly won't hobble them with a Windows Mobile device!

The Kin seems to make special things a lot easier than every other phone so far. MSFT interviewed over 50.000 young users to get an idea of what they need and want.

And the price may also be a point you missed. Finally: It's not a Windows Mobile phone!
post #15 of 84
Except teenagers want iPhones and Apple gear.

(Ok, and an Xbox.)




post #16 of 84
Kids will be clamoring for them just like they did for Zunes. What kid wants a hip Apple product eh?
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post #17 of 84
the lack of even rudimentary 3rd party app support makes this a step backwards from even 7 year old sidekick products.
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post #18 of 84
They can't be serious. Was it April Fool's day?

Can't those numbskulls at Microsoft see that there is already too much junk out there???
post #19 of 84
I wonder if they're going to come out with a Windows Phone 7/KIN version of the HTC EVO 4G or equivalent. I could see kids actually wanting that.
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post #20 of 84
So this cool hip new studio that holds ALL these kids' photos, videos, emails, text messages, etc. is going to run in the same Microsoft cloud service that lost all the data of Sidekick users last year?? HAhaha!
post #21 of 84
I like the pebble-ish shape. But, I think MS and the like are missing the boat with the youngins'... Apple has the overwhelming mindshare of youth and university age folks... who are buying iPods, Pads, and Books as fast as they can make them. It's going to take something more than just-another-phone to turn the tide of 'coolness'.

I think Apple has a stranglehold on this market for at least 5 years...
post #22 of 84
You can really tell who the trolls are here, the hardcore trolls aren't even posting in this thread because they know it's a fail, the wannabe trolls are all saying "hey this could be big"...
post #23 of 84
I'm pretty sure what 15 year olds want are things that they've been explicitly told are "for kids." And that they should ignore the cool college age stuff until they're in college. That'll work.

That MS web page is a horror show. And people give Apple shit for being for hipsters and posers?
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post #24 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamIIGS View Post

You can really tell who the trolls are here, the hardcore trolls aren't even posting in this thread because they know it's a fail, the wannabe trolls are all saying "hey this could be big"...

And what does that make you?
post #25 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffreytgilbert View Post

the lack of even rudimentary 3rd party app support makes this a step backwards from even 7 year old sidekick products.

You're right, based on my experience.
I meet up with my friend and her two kids, a 9 year old boy, a 13 year old girl. First thing he does is grab my iPhone.

My colleagues' 8 year old basically owns his dad's iPod Touch.

It's the apps they're after. Not the social networking thing. They do that by IM and texting but it's secondary to the apps.
I think there's a danger that any kid who turns up at school with this will be laughed at. They may have interviewed X,000 kids about how they use their phones, but they didn't ask them how they used them. It'd be like asking them what sports they like playing in their Nikes, then designing a shoe based on that, completely missing the fact that people don't wear Nikes to play sport...
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post #26 of 84
So Microsoft is back stabbing its "partners" yet again. I do not get the strategy...these terrible devices, that lack games, use the horrible Zune service which has failed miserably in the marketplace, and have no 3rd party support are going to compete with the existing WinMo makers, the upcoming Windows 7 Phone Series makers, and somehow are going to compete against the iPhone and Droid. LOL. Give me some of what Ballmer is smoking!
post #27 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

What's this? A well-balanced article from Prince about a competitor -- and it isn't laced with venom? Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeet, what has the world come to?

That being said, this should be great for tweeners on up to high schoolers -- nothing more, nothing less. College-age kids are gonna want something a bit more versatile.

I'm still scratching my head over HD video & 5MP camera, do they think kids really want their face to be caught in all it's pimply glory?! 4 & 8 gig, mmmmm, that doesn't help the HD video & photos.

Still, probably will be a hit, smart to go after the kiddy crowds, give parents a device they don't mind if their kids break.
post #28 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by TiAdiMundo View Post

The "Kin Spot" feature is a brilliant UI idea for what it is supposed to do:

http://kin.com/

This thing has the potential to be really successful. There are so many young people out there who don't wanne work, play or use apps on their phones. Seriously. The Zune Pass music streaming feature over 3G is a killer, IMO.

Yeah. I noticed that kids really hate playing games on their phones.

Here's the thing. Kids already know how to do social networking on the phones they have. They're really good at it. They know how to upload their pictures. They know how to update their Facebook page. They know how to text, which is 90% of the "social networking" they do.

To make a phone that makes all of that "easy" just smacks of old people trying to get on the bandwagon. Here comes grandpa MS, with his cool new phone: "IT'S GOT THE TWITTER AND THE MYFACE AND THOSE DAMN CAMERA THINGS YOU LOVE SO MUCH! HERE'S SOME VIDEO OF MY GRANDCHILDREN DOING THE BOOGIE! AT THE NIGHT PARTY PLACE THEY GO! SEE HOW EASY? WHAT DO YOU MEAN, YOU'RE ALREADY DOING THAT?"

The trouble with MS is that don't just set out to make the best product they can, they have some kind of horrible internal demographic strategery focus-group bullshit that convinces them they can divvy up markets into winnable segments. It's like they're an advertising company that happens to make hardware.
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post #29 of 84
It looks like a great phone for youngins and those that don't have a hard on for smartphones. Pending price this could be a hit, and data requirements (if it costs as much as a full smartphone data packages it would be stupid to buy).

Looks like a great feature phone which is really all it is.
post #30 of 84
These little devices will probably sell OK. Not everyone wants and can afford an iPhone.

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post #31 of 84
Sucks that companies like Palm are going under while Microsoft get to put out crap like this because of their windows/office money printing machines.

Really, how many of these do they expect to sell
post #32 of 84
Anybody know who Microsoft's equivalent of Jon Ives is? Well, whoever it is doesn't quite have the industrial design thing down yet.
post #33 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phizz View Post

Sucks that companies like Palm are going under while Microsoft get to put out crap like this because of their windows/office money printing machines.

Really, how many of these do they expect to sell

Didn't really think about how much one of them resembles the Palm Pre.

Also interesting to note that businesses have been the real market keeping windows mobile os alive, now they are going to try to break into the "cool" market. Cool has never really been Microsoft's thing, just not sure they'll be able to do it. I'm skeptical too that this will go anywhere.
post #34 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phizz View Post

Really, how many of these do they expect to sell

How many do you expect for them sell? Smartphones are not the only phones being sold and this is not a smartphone, but a highly specd feature phone and these phones still do sell quite well.

If the Kin and Kin two can be had for under 100 bucks and say a messaging/data package for 30 combined (this can't stream video iirc) this would be a pretty good deal in my opinion.
post #35 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Here's the thing. Kids already know how to do social networking on the phones they have. They're really good at it. They know how to upload their pictures. They know how to update their Facebook page. They know how to text, which is 90% of the "social networking" they do.

Nobody said that social networking is impossible to do on other devices. It's about efficiency and experience. Have you seen the videos?

Even because the Kin is just different in almost every aspect from an iPhone owned by their parents makes it attractive to teens. Just take a look at the packaging or the whole marketing.

(Why do I have to be the advocate of the Kin?)
post #36 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudpud View Post

Although I love my MBP and most things Apple...I had to laugh, having read the article's headline on appleinsider, after having read Engadget's, BGR's and Gizmodo's articles...I know that this website is pro-Apple, but I don't think that it even pretends that it's not unabashedly subjective and highly critical of all things non-Apple. "social media phones for kids" --> this is the first and only article about the Kin phones today to have such a negative tone to it - dismissing the Kin phones as those befitting of "kids."

My apologies up front - you're kidding yourself.

Go to the 'Markets' and read what they have to say about the Kin and the chances of it being any kind a 'game changer' for MS in it's hope to make increase it's mobile market share.

BTW. While you're there (if you bother to be more informed) read some of what they're saying about RIMM and why there is little chance they'll be heading UP in the near future.

(Sorry I can't link all the market reports for you here as I'm posting this from my iPhone sitting inn traffic at 6:15am in Western Australia )
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post #37 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

Anybody know who Microsoft's equivalent of Jon Ives is? Well, whoever it is doesn't quite have the industrial design thing down yet.

I doubt anyone at Microsoft has the freedom to do what he/she wants with designs (to a point, of course) as Jonny Ive does. Ive has the flexibility to do things his way, whereas Microsoft probably has a project lead, and about 50 different middle managers throwing in their two cents until it becomes something completely neutral and boring.

I also think it's funny how Microsoft knows it can't afford to be irrelevant in the mobile space, yet there is absolutely nothing they can do about it, no matter how many half-a$$ed products they put out there.
post #38 of 84
"Roz Ho, leader of the Microsoft team behind the Kin, said the company has been working on the Kin devices for several years"

This has to be a joke.
post #39 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by c4rlob View Post

So this cool hip new studio that holds ALL these kids' photos, videos, emails, text messages, etc. is going to run in the same Microsoft cloud service that lost all the data of Sidekick users last year?? HAhaha!

1. It wasn't a cloud service by MS. They bought it. Right. So they were responsible but it was not based on MS technology.

2. They restored all data. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8309218.stm
post #40 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by TiAdiMundo View Post

1. It wasn't a cloud service by MS. They bought it. Right. So they were responsible but it was not based on MS technology.

2. They restored all data. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8309218.stm

No, it was Sun and Oracle that restores that data, not Microsoft. Microsoft claimed all data was lost and apologized, and the Sun swooped in and saved the day.
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