SAN FRANCISCO--The Kin isn't the iPhone and it doesn't have to be.
That was the message from both Microsoft and Verizon Wireless executives at the launch of the new smartphone line on Monday.
Instead of focusing on apps, the Kin focuses on bringing together in one interface all the social networking and other tools that the "upload generation" wants in its phone.
But executives also took pains to characterize the Kin One and Kin Two as entry-level smartphones, not part of the feature phone market that they admit is in decline.
Instead, they tried to create a new niche aimed at those who are really into social networking but haven't gotten what they want on their phone.
In an interview, Microsoft Entertainment and Devices President Robbie Bach and Verizon Senior Vice President John Harrobin made their case for their new family of phones. Here's an edited transcript:
A couple real quick questions. Add-on applications, yes or no? Bach: From a marketplace standpoint, there's certainly a video and music marketplace. There isn't an app marketplace, but we do support over-the-air (upgrades), so we have an opportunity as we get feedback from customers to add additional things if we choose.
We had to make a choice early on, are we going to do an integrated experience or one that is an app-specific experience. We chose from the start to be an integrated experience and I think you see that. We concentrated on the apps we thought this audience would want...Twitter, Facebook, that all comes with the device.
The user picks up this phone and they don't have to install anything. They don't have to start anything. They just have to enter their account.
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