Microsoft launches smartphones to rival iPhone and Nexus One

Business Week has details of the newly launched Microsoft Kin smartphone, a social-networking focused device which Microsoft is launching to compete with smartphones like the Apple iPhone and Google Nexus One.

Though the company has a history of involvement in the mobile industry – most notably producing operating systems for OEMs like HTC – the Kin series is its first venture into the handset business. 

A few interesting details for the Business Week story are below though pricing details were not announced and there is no planned launch for Asia as yet.

Called Kin One and Kin Two, the phones will be made by Sharp Corp. and sold in the U.S. by Verizon Wireless starting in May. The Kin phones will be available in Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K. in the fall from Vodafone Group Plc.

The Kin phones include cameras, touch screens and slide-out keyboards for text messaging. The phone takes updates from social-networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace and displays them in one place on the phone’s main screen, called the Kin Loop. Users can drag videos, photos, status updates, text messages and Web sites to one spot on the phone and then share the whole package of content with friends.



“This [the youth market] is an age group Microsoft has to court,” ABI [Research analyst Kevin] Burden said. “They’re kind of losing this group to Apple and Google, and what they don’t want is to have all these late teens and early 20-somethings not growing up Microsoft.”