Phone Kin be social worker; Tech Heads.
Byline: Steve Lawson
MICROSOFT this week pulled a fast one by unveiling two mobile phones aimed at the social networking market.
The Kin One and Kin Two are an odd-looking pair.
The Kin One looks like one of those shiny and utterly useless bathroom pebbles that women - sorry, I mean my dear wife - like to buy.
They are being marketed as Windows phones but the interface of blocky windows, monochrome text and zoomed-in photos is unique to Kin, with a heavy social media slant, a custom browser based on the Zune's browser, and, surprisingly, no support for third-party apps.
The Kins have capacitive touchscreens with support for pinch-and-zoom multitouch.
The pebble comes with 4GB of internal storage, 5 megapixel camera with LED flash and a full QWERTY keyboard.
Kin Two has a more traditional landscape QWERTY slide form factor, an 8 megapixel camera and 8GB of storage.
Both phones have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in addition to their 3G connections.
The big two features unique to Kin are "Loop" and "Spot".
Loop is like Kin's home screen, aggregating social content from your friends (Twitter, Facebook, and so on) roughly based on order of priority by how you sort your contents.
Spot, meanwhile, is an everpresent green dot at the bottom of the screen where you can drag content - maps, images, status updates, videos - and share it with contacts. Think of it as a souped-up "attachments" button in your messaging client.
There are no details yet on pricing, but if they get it right - under pounds 200 for the handsets - Microsoft could be onto something.
These Kins could be a major hit with the "yoof" market and Vodafone have signed on as the European partner for an autumn launch.
IT had to happen... Twitter are introducing adverts, or what they call Promoted Tweets, to their social networking service.
They will allow companies to insert tweets into the search results for certain terms.
Eventually, some Promoted Tweets will end up in your Twitter stream, too. There will be only one Promoted Tweet per page, and Twitter will attempt to keep Promoted Tweets relevant to attract more advertisers. It sounds like the end of ad-free Twitter, which we knew was too good to be true.
TWINS: Kin One and Two