10 Scenes From Microsoft's Kin Launch

With its unveiling of Kin One and Kin Two, Microsoft is courting the younger generation with social networking-oriented mobile devices that just scream, "Hey, look at me and dig what I'm doing now." Following are 10 scenes from Microsoft's Kin launch event in San Francisco that illustrate the software giant's ambitious effort to court a new type of consumer.

Meet Kin One and Kin Two

Microsoft isn't the first thing teens and twenty-somethings think of when texting friends and updating them on the minutiae of their daily lives, but that could soon change.

Kin One (left) comes with a 5 megapixel camera with SD video, 4 gigabytes of storage, a mono speaker and a compact keyboard designed for one-handed typing. Kin Two features an 8 megapixel camera with HD video, 8 gigabytes of storage, stereo speakers and a larger keyboard.

Microsoft hasn't yet revealed pricing for the devices, but Verizon will start selling them next month in the U.S.

"The Market Will Be THIS Big"

When Microsoft showed Kin One and Kin Two to Verizon at CES, the carrier's reps could hardly take their eyes off them. Not even the BCS college football championship game could distract them, said Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices division, at the Kin launch event. Verizon, the exclusive Kin carrier in the U.S., is just as passionate about the younger audience as Microsoft is, according to Bach.

Keeping Tabs On Pals

Kin's user interface includes a home screen called Loop which displays social networking updates from friends and family. Using Loop, Kin users can monitor their friends' responses to the various external stimuli they encounter throughout the course of each day, providing insight into questions such as, "Would someone please explain to me why anyone would want to be on a reality TV show?"

Kin Two And The Future Of Sidekick

Kin Two bears the strongest resemblance of the two devices to the T-Mobile Sidekick, which was developed by Danger, the company Microsoft acquired in 2008 for $500 million. But according to Microsoft blogger Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft isn't using Danger's Sidekick code in Kin, although Kin does reflect the Sidekick user experience, particularly when it comes to the cloud storage elements.

Explaining The Kin Loop

Derek Snyder, Kin senior product manager, likened the Kin Loop to a running "conversation" between users and their socially networked friends and family. Kin devices will also be the first to come with Zune integration, something that Windows Phone 7 devices will have when they arrive later this year.

Is That A Turtle?

Kin One, the smaller of the devices, was previously known by the code-name 'Turtle.' When its QWERTY keyboard is tucked away, Kin One does indeed exhibit some terrapin characteristics. And like a real turtle, Kin reportedly was slow to reach the market due to a variety of issues in the top secret 'Pink' team, which is believed to have overseen its development.

Social Networking Done Right

John Harrobin, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless, told The New York Timesthat Kin devices could eventually become as synonymous with social networking as RIM's Blackberry is with corporate email.

Kin's Ready For Video

Microsoft Kin Senior Product Manager Derek Snyder shows off the video capabilities of Kin One at the conclusion of the launch event. Kin One features SD video and Kin Two comes with high definition video. We are truly headed for a world in which every misstep or blunder, no matter how slight, will be captured and shared with all and sundry.

Pay Attention To Me

Microsoft is targeting younger consumers with Kin, and that's a new kind of marketing challenge for a company that has made the bulk of its money from software. At the Kin launch event, signage underscored the vital role that social networking plays in young folks' lives today.

Keeping Track Of The Action

One unidentified audience member videotapes the Kin launch proceedings for posterity. Next month, Verizon Wireless will start selling Kin devices in the U.S., and Vodaphone will start selling devices in Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K. this fall.