Microsoft's next of Kin: No cure for smartphone fatigue

The Kin One and Kin Two handsets look cool enough -- but do we really need more "social" smartphones?

As I type this, Microsoft is announcing two new slider cell phones, the Kin One and Kin Two -- successors to the beloved but aging-faster-than-Mickey-Rourke T-Mobile Sidekick.

These are apparently the culmination of the long-rumored, until-now-entirely-vaporous, Project Pink, code-named Turtle and Pure, sometimes also known as the Zune Phone. When your phones have more aliases than a CIA operative, that's probably not a good sign. But I digress.

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I can't tell you how excited I am. I can't tell you -- because I'm about to slide into a walking coma.

It's not really Microsoft's fault. It's an industrial malady, a contagion that has picked up strength and virality over the last three years. I call it Smartphone Fatigue. It's like Epstein-Barr, only more enervating: "Gee. Another whizzy new cell phone. You say it does multitouch and pinch zoom, and I can tweet in my sleep? God, please take me now."

Remember, last year the Palm Pre and the WebOS were all the rage. The Pre was finally going to end the iPhone's domination of media hype, if not actual smartphone sales. Now the rumors are raging that Palm is about to be sold off to the highest bidder, most likely one of its smartphone competitors. (See ya later Palm, it was nice while it lasted. You'll always have a place in my heart.)

Then, of course, there were the Droid, the Cliq, and the Nexus. Android phones were going to change our lives in ways we could not imagine (and, frankly, still can't). Then Microsoft made a bid for our gadget-lusting hearts by teasing us with tantalizing glimpses of the Windows Phone 7 Series, which might actually arrive before Windows 8 shows up -- maybe. Then Apple had an announcement or two -- the exact nature of it escapes me -- something to do with pads?

And now: Pink -- er, Turtle. I mean Kin.

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