KIN: A totally different Windows Phone

Microsoft announced a pair of new phone devices which will be manufactured by Sharp and branded KIN. These are not part of the Windows Phone 7 platform but are still (perhaps confusingly) called Windows Phone. KIN uses a lot of the same underlying technology as Windows Mobile has in the past and Windows Phone will do, however the device is sharply focussed on social networking and the whole user experience revolves around this. The platform has built in support for Facebook, Twitter and MySpace along with the accompanying KIN Studio online service. KIN Studio is a web portal which aggregates everything you create on the phone up in the cloud. It has some cool visualisation of this content too including a timeline view of everything you’ve done. Think of it as a kind of MyPhone on steroids…


The user experience uses some of the same principles as the Metro user interface visible in Windows Phone 7 however one thing that is instantly noticeable is there is a lot less dead space. Where Windows Phone 7 uses large fonts and generous spacing in a “less is more” approach the KIN user interface packs highly graphical elements closely together. It has been described as a magazine style and certainly tries to catch your eye with everything which is going on in your social networks. Both platforms use a minimal colour scheme – from the flash based demo on the website you can choose one of four highlight colours but these are different to the colours used on the “big brother” Windows Phone 7.

I’m looking forward to seeing the real device, and I hope that some of these innovations (particularly KIN Studio) make it into Windows Phone 7 too! I’m also wondering if there will be any development story for these devices as there is nothing mentioned on the official website or press releases…

By Peter Foot

Microsoft Windows Development MVP