By now, you’ve heard the big news about the new Kin smartphones, the phones aimed at the uber-social tween and teen set, a demographic group who need something smarter than a “feature phone” but may not be quite ready for an advanced smartphone (and its accompanying data bill!).
The Kin One and Kin Two devices don’t support an array of third-party applications like the more grown-up Windows Phones do. They aren’t designed for you to check your Exchange email or Outlook calendar, or collaborate with your work colleagues because these are kids phones.
However, although there aren’t dedicated apps for social networking, the phones do allow for interacting with social media thanks to Kin’s integration of photos, videos, SMS messages, Twitter, MySpace and Facebook posts directly into the Kin UI (user interface).
With Kin Loop, for example, you see an incoming stream of data from your friends which includes all of the above. And with Kin Spot you can push out your own media (again, photos, videos, maps, status updates, etc.) to your friends. Loop’s stream is prioritized by who you tag as your “favorite” friends, so you just see content relevant to you.
Kin Studio, the third major component to Kin devices, is a secure online service where your media is stored. It’s sort of like how Microsoft’s “MyPhone” web service functions except that the Studio feature is automatically syncing your content to the cloud straight out of the box. From the online Kin Studio service, you can browse your content and share it with others.
Also included in the devices is Zune support. As with the Zune HD, Kin owners can sync their phones with Zune’s desktop software or can stream music via the Zune Pass service. An interesting note which some may have missed is that Kin phones will soon be able to sync with Mac computers, too: a Zune client for Mac arrives in May.
There are more features coming to Kin phones over time, but no word on what exactly those will be just yet. (We hope it’s a few games and IM, though.)
In the meantime, there’s a lot of info about the devices online at the newly launched Kin website here: kin.com.