Microsoft Kin One and Kin Two phones debut

Microsoft has announced two new phones in the US and the UK dubbed Kin on Monday. 

Kin, short for Kin-ship, won't run Windows Phone 7 it seems, but a variation of it.

"What if we took Windows Phone 7 and customised it for a social networking audience," questioned Microsoft president of the Entertainment and Devices Division Robbie Bach, at the launch event in San Francisco. "Windows Phone 7 is about simplifying people's lives, this is about amplifying their lives."

The two new handsets, which have been floating around the web as the rumoured Pink phones, will be the Kin One and Kin Two. Both will feature a QWERTY keyboard with Kin One being a square slider and Kin Two sporting a more landscape offering.

Built by Sharp, the same maker as the Sidekick, on the spec side of things the Kin One will sport a 2.6-inch TFT, QVGA (320 x 240), capacitive touchscreen, 5-megapixel camera, 4GB of storage, a mono speaker, and Zune media player.

The Kin Two will feature a 3.4-inch TFT, QVGA (480 x 320), capacitive touchscreen, an 8-megapixel camera, stereo speakers, 8GB of storage and the Zune player. Both handsets will come with GPS built-in and are designed for use in low light with image stabilisation and a bright LumiLED flash. 

Slating Apple, the company said the phones, aren't just a grid of applications.

"It's a magazine of my life," claimed the lead project manager describing the software interface called "The Kin loop". Kin Loop will let you pull status updates from Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or Windows Live, and others without having to load separate applications. Users can then share things they like by dragging them into a green spot at the bottom of the screen.

The phone will come with Bing search built-in.

Users will also be treated to something Microsoft are calling the Kin Studio that automatically backs up texts, call history, photos, videos and contacts, and populates a personalised digital journal so it’s easy to go back in time to relive a crazy weekend or recent birthday online. 

Kin will be exclusively available from Verizon Wireless in the US beginning in May and from Vodafone this autumn in Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.