The new Microsoft KIN (ONE) goes on sale next week in the US through Verizon, May 13 to be precise. I haven't held or used one, but the device has received some fairly positive reviews, including this one from the WSJ:
Though Microsoft’s Kin One has some polishing to do on its camera and on its social-networking tools, it’s a uniquely attractive device that’s a pleasure to use. I only wish all mobile devices had worry-free backup websites like the Kin Studio.
(Engadget doesn't like the devices, however.)
The phone is directed toward younger users and positioned as a social networking device. The KIN ONE has a distinctive design, which will appeal to many (the KIN TWO not as much). But arguably the most interesting thing about these phones is KIN Studio, the online backup and dashboard service that comes with them. The KIN Studio is a kind of "back door" potential social network for the owners of these devices.
I compare it to the iPhone because the device has "personality" in the same way. KIN ONE at least is the only other device in the market that I can say that about. Android phones are powerful and useful but don't have "personality" or comparable distinctiveness, depsite all the Verizon money and testosterone associated with marketing Droid.
I suspect these KIN handsets will sell well and be a success for Microsoft. They may turn out to be much more successful than Windows (7) Phones due out later this year. But those devices aren't out yet so it's very premature to speculate.
According to the PR materials "KIN ONE is available for $49.99, and KIN TWO is available for $99.99, both after a $100 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement." I just hate rebates.