Microsoft launches social KIN phones

Goodbye Windows Mobile, hello KIN. Microsoft completed the re-branding of its ailing phone division with the launch today of two teen-themed social ne

KIN ONE and TWO are touchscreen phones with slide-out keyboards and dedicated social/media skins. KIN Loop is a live feed of friend updates from Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and, er, those famous Microsoft social networks, with info from your best digital buddies automatically prioritised.

KIN Spot is a one-stop app letting you drag and drop videos, photos, text messages, Web pages, location and status updates to share (presumably with other KIN users).

Kin Studio is the cloud side of the business, a service that automatically backs up texts, call history, photos, videos and contacts, and even populates a "personalised digital journal".

As long expected, KIN will also be the first Windows phone to include Zune, giving music, video, FM radio and podcast playback, as well as supporting the Zune Pass subscription to access "millions" of songs from Zune Marketplace on the KIN handsets.

Intriguingly, although KIN is launching with Verizon Wireless in the US in May, it's promised for the UK in autumn (alongside Germany, Italy, Spain) - which could be the long-delayed first outing for Zune outside America.