KIN: Sidekicks for the Noughties?

Take a dollop of Sidekick and add a touch of Palm Pre and what do you have? Microsoft's smart, curvy KIN phones might not have the raw power of the Go

Take a dollop of Sidekick and add a touch of Palm Pre and what do you have? Microsoft's smart, curvy KIN phones might not have the raw power of the Google Nexus or the polished poise of a multi-tasking iPhone, but they'll have something much more useful - a recession-friendly price-tag.

Sharp's successful Sidekicks phones were never particularly powerful, particularly well-designed or even particularly ergonomic. But they were particularly cheap, came pre-loaded with teen-friendly features and reasonable priceplans.

The Microsoft KINs may not have app stores but iPhone users might envy the 5MP and 8MP autofocus cameras with LED flash - the TWO even shooting video in High Def.

Microsoft and Verizon Wireless haven't shared pricing details yet for the KIN but I'll be shocked if they start at much more than the Sidekick LX's $99 (plus contract). Microsoft will be hoping that many KIN owners will also stump up for the full Zune subscription (giving unlimited access to tracks), although it's not clear yet whether the KIN's will allow Zune's peer-to-peer Wi-Fi music sharing.