Microsoft's Kin Smartphones Could Eclipse Windows Phone 7 Series

Formerly known as Project Pink, analysts estimate that if the Kin smartphones attract even a fraction of the demographic heavily into social networking services like Facebook, they have the potential to eclipse sales of Windows Phone 7 Series, the upcoming smartphone operating system that Microsoft is counting on to regain market share from competition such as Google Android and the Apple iPhone OS.

The Kin One, with a sliding form factor reminiscent of the Palm Pre, features both a physical QWERTY keyboard and a touch screen, as well as a 5.0-megapixel camera with flash capable of shooting SD video. The Kin Two also has a sliding QWERTY keyboard and a touch screen, along with an 8.0-megapixel camera and stereo speakers. Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's Entertainment & Devices Division, said during an April 12 presentation in San Francisco that the phones' target demographic was "the sharing generation" for whom "social life is their priority No. 1."

Microsoft's upcoming Kin One and Kin Two smartphones, aimed at a younger demographic, could benefit from the rising popularity of social networking; moreover, the phones' success or failure could serve as a barometer for the fortunes of Windows Phone 7, the smartphone franchise that Microsoft plans on launching near the end of 2010.

Microsoft may have found an appropriate approach. Several statistics companies, including Nielsen, have spent the past several quarters tracking the rise in social-networking usage. That increase has been affecting a wide variety of IT businesses in their approach to building software; during an April 8 presentation in New York, CEO Marc Benioff displayed a graph showing the number of social-networking users surpassing e-mail users, data that he said justified the creation of the Facebook-like Salesforce Chatter collaboration platform. That same logic is obviously influencing smartphone operating system design, as well.

Microsoft is betting that its upcoming Windows Phone 7 Series will also help reverse this market trend. Windows Phone 7, in a departure from the operating system model of the Apple iPhone and Google Android, aggregates Web content and mobile applications into "Hubs" delineated by subject category, such as "People" or "Games." While Microsoft executives have mentioned on several occasions that Windows Phone 7 will roll out with a suitable massive marketing campaign, the Kin smartphones have a role to play in the company's mobile shift.

"I would argue that Kin may be the more important product of the two OS offerings," Jack Gold, principal analyst of J. Gold Associates, wrote in an April 13 research note. "Kin is a bigger gamble, whereby Microsoft is trying to define a new market niche. If it catches on, Kin could usher in a new class of 'Facebook in Your Pocket' devices, just like iPhone created a class of devices for Internet-centric users."

Microsoft's Kin One and Kin Two smartphones could benefit from the rise in social networking, but the mobile devices' ultimate success also depends on details not announced during their April 12 rollout, such as carrier plans.

View Article


  • There are no comments yet. Be the first to comment!

Leave a Comment
  • Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.

Top White Papers and Webcasts

  • Moving from an on-premises environment to Office 365 does not remove the need to plan for disruptions or reduce the business risk requirements for protecting email services. If anything, some risks increase with a move to the cloud. Read how to ease the transition every business faces if considering or already migrating to cloud email. This white paper discusses: Setting expectations when migrating to Office 365 Understanding the implications of relying solely on Exchange Online security Necessary archiving …

  • Anthony Christie, the Chief Marketing Officer for Level Communications, is responsible for customer experience, worldwide marketing and product management. In this informative asset, he shares his insights into why a private network connection to cloud-bases applications is the right decision for your enterprise. Download now to find out more.

Most Popular Programming Stories

More for Developers

RSS Feeds

Thanks for your registration, follow us on our social networks to keep up-to-date