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?

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So Kin One and Kin Two. First thought: Why not go the whole Dr. Seuss route and name them Thing One and Thing Two? I think Microsoft missed a big market opportunity there.

OK, back to the phones. They're ... phones. They have slide-out keyboards. The Kin One ("Turtle") is closer in size to a BlackBerry, while Kin Two ("Pure") has a full QWERTY keyboard, a la the LG Rumor and a gazillion others.

Also: They're all about socialism -- I mean, social networking. The Kin interface is supposed to weave all your social/online activity into one seamless experience. If that sounds vaguely familiar, it's because that's what the Cliq's Motorola Blur interface also does -- unless that was really the Droid.

Hence the Kin Website, filled with photos of twentysomethings acting like hormonally crazed simpletons. (Sorry, that's just my Smartphone Fatigue talking. Let me crack open another can of Red Bull and readjust.) In other words, this is not your father's satellite phone, and probably not yours either.

The intro text on the Kin Website: "The impulsive. The spontaneous. The wonderful."

My translation: "The annoying. The self-absorbed. The unemployed."

The bad news? No app store. No Flash support. The good: No sign of Windows whatsoever -- these phones are based on the Zune browser interface, so they have that going for them.

The Kins will be available from Verizon sometime this May. I bet you can't wait. I know I can't. Because my life just hasn't changed enough yet this year. If I don't get a new life-altering gadget every few weeks, I might shrivel up and die.

How about you -- tired of smartphones yet? Longing for your boring old landline? Post your thoughts below or email me: cringe@infoworld.com.

This article, "Microsoft's next of Kin: No cure for smartphone fatigue," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog.

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