Live from the San Francisco launch event for Microsoft's all-new mobile phone project. Phone Scoop gets some quality time with the Kin 1 and Kin 2. Picture galleries and video demos added!
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First hands-on impressions of the Kin 1 from Microsoft!
The Kin 1 is a small, hockey-puck shaped device that is smooth and round. It is very small and features a capacitive display and slide-out QWERTY keyboard.
The Kin 1 is very comfortable to hold. It has a great feel in the hand both when open and closed. The plastics don't feel like they are made with super high-quality materials, but these are still prototype devices.
The slider opens easily, and the keyboard, though tight, feels pretty good. The buttons have a round shape and have good travel and feedback.
The camera button on the side of the phone is nice and large, making it very easy to find and use. The volume rocker is tucked into the top corner of the device, making it both hard to find and hard to use. Thankfully the device comes with a 3.5mm headset jack.
On the front of the device, there's only one button. Press it once to go back a screen, and press-and-hold to go all the way back to the main screen.
In general, the device feels a bit on the cheap side. We surely hope the production units are of much higher quality and build strength.
The operating system takes some time to get used to. The GUI is very jumbled, and has three main home screens.
The main screen delivers the content that comes in from all a user's friends, RSS feeds and social networking sites. Users can prioritize what content lands on this page, and it can come from all manner of different sources. If a user sees something he/she wants to share, they can drag it down to the Loop icon at the bottom of the screen. The Loop is a place where users store content that they intend to share.
Once you've dragged stuff into the Loop, press the Loop button to get at all the content. Users can then choose where and how to share that content, whether it be via Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Email, MMS, SMS, etc. Everything in the Loop an be automatically shared with everything and everyone, or selectively.
The main home screen has links to all the usual things you expect to find on a phone, such as the phone, settings, music, the camera, etc. The user interface reminds me very much of the recently announced Windows Phone 7 user interface. The fonts and the way Microsoft has broken things down into boxes really feels familiar.
As for the basic usefulness of the UI, it is very speedy. Microsoft said that the Kin1 and Kin2 have Tegra chips in them, and I saw no hesitation when using either device.
Because of the way content is aggregated onto the home page, it takes some getting used to, especially when it comes to navigating between the three main screens, but you get used to it over time.
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OS and media card support?
I'd like to test it
Over Internet Sync?
What will they talk about?