Microsoft's New Kin Smarphones Goes On Sale

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced that pre-sales of its two new Kin smartphones began on Thursday via the company's U.S. launch partner, Verizon Wireless, and said that they will be available in Verizon Wireless stores as of next Thursday, May 13.

The company's spokespeople had coyly declined to confirm or deny the rumors of the Kin's pending availability that surfaced earlier this week.

Microsoft introduced the two handsets -- named Kin One and Kin Two -- nearly a month ago.

However, at that time, Microsoft did not reveal pricing for either the phones or for the cloud services that support them.

Microsoft and Verizon Wireless jointly announced that the Kin One and Kin Two are available for $49.99 and $99.99 respectively. Those prices both factor in a $100 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement that's required.

However, Kin buyers will have additional monthly fees similar to other smartphone contracts.

"To get the most from Kin, Verizon Wireless customers will need to subscribe to a Verizon Wireless Nationwide Talk plan and an Email and Web for Smartphone plan. Nationwide Talk plans begin at $39.99 monthly access. Email and Web for Smartphone plans start at $29.99 for unlimited monthly access," a statement from the two companies reads.

Made by Sharp, the two phones both have touchscreens and slide-out keyboards. Additionally, they include five-megapixel and eight-megapixel cameras, respectively. Both handsets also include Zune features for music, video, and FM radio, while the Kin Two has more memory and can record high-definition video.

In addition, the user interface for the Kins is designed for social networking, and includes a common location for third-party services such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, as well as e-mail and instant messaging.

The Kin One and Kin Two are available for pre-order at Verizon Wireless' Web site.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


Microsoft, mobility, mobile, smartphone, Kin