The mobile phone market is undergoing exciting changes of epic proportions. Phones are shifting dramatically towards more empowered and more capable devices. At the same time, they need to be re-invented to meet consumers’ higher expectations of what a phone should be. Today’s phones need to cater to texters, gamers, music lovers, and socializers as much as business users. And people are no longer satisfied with just being connected. They want be in touch – in a personal and engaged way – to share their experiences, to create experiences.
Today, Microsoft, Sharp, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone unveil KIN, a new Windows Phone for people who are actively navigating their social lives. Across Microsoft, from Bing to Windows 7 to Xbox and Zune, we’ve shifted our focus to building software that is inspired by the way people live. It’s clear when you pick up a KIN that this phone is something new and different.
KIN is built for the youthful audience. We designed the total experience from the ground up. We looked at how these people want to use the phone in tandem with the PC and the web. We’ve worked closely with Sharp on the design of the phone to make sure it delivers for KIN’s socially active customer. This is the social media generation. They’re not just reading — they’re broadcasting, sharing, and getting their message out to the world.
KIN weaves social networking into the fabric of the phone – it’s not a bolt-on nor an application nor a widget. Because of this, we are able to expose key social and sharing experiences throughout the entire phone experience. For instance – right from the home screen, called the KIN Loop, you can see who and what you love coming in from various networks and directly comment or post a status. Contacts are the place to see all your friends bringing in rich information effortlessly from many different social networks, and the camera is the place to see not just your own photos, but also those from your friends.
KIN’s audience lives around music and photos. So we included the Zune experience with its ability to share music with friends. Users get the Zune Music & Media Player, and Marketplace w/Zune Pass subscription support, as well as desktop sync. KIN also takes amazing photos, even in low light. KIN’s one click upload makes it easy to share your pictures. They’re backed up automatically so you can look at them online, in full size, whenever you want. And KIN gives people tons of storage to keep photos and video – all photos and video clips are automatically stored online without taking up precious memory on your phone.
KIN’s look, feel and functionality are designed around this notion — You are your own publisher, and KIN is a magazine of your life. What you share, and with whom, are the heroes of the experience, rather than icons and menus. KIN completely changes the way people think about sharing and networking on a mobile phone.
The announcement of KIN comes right on the heels of another big move for Microsoft in mobile, the introduction of Windows Phone 7 at Mobile World Congress. Windows Phones are unique in the way they bring together the phone, services and the PC. For people, this gives meaningful experiences outside the phone and one that also extends across multiple screens. KIN and Windows Phone 7 share some of the same underlying technology but each target distinct audiences. Windows Phone 7 is about simplifying people’s lives. KIN is about amplifying people’s lives.
This post is by Andy Lees, Senior Vice President for Mobile Communications Business.