Now officially (and dangerously - more later) renamed the 'KIN' range, the line comprises two curious looking models (both in line with previously leaked images) called the 'KIN One' and 'KIN Two'. Which is which? The bizarre squashed Pre-a-like is the One, the rounded variant of handsets HTC has been building for years is the Two.
Love/hate looks aside (remember these are 'young and hip' and we probably aren't either, so we don't get it man) the internals are potentially impressive with Tegra powered graphics, a 5MP camera and 4GB of memory inside the One and 8GB of storage, an 8MP camera and 720p recording on the Two. On the downside I'm hearing the models don't run as smoothly as you'd expect given this hardware, but with battery life designed to last a "full weekend" I suspect clock speeds have been reigned in.
Of more interest though is the software and it is here where the Kins will either live or die.
The Good: taking a leaf out of Windows Phone 7 (though built on software by SideKick maker and 2008 purchase Danger), the Kins have scrolling, graphically rich UIs with multi-touch support. They also have slick Zune HD influenced multimedia players and integrated social networking for Facebook, MySpace (remember them?) and Twitter. All content created on the phones is also automatically synced to The Cloud and this can be accessed via a desktop app meaning if you forget your phone you can still get your content and even view incoming text messages. That said, you can't make calls or send SMS.
The Bad: the whole OS is locked down meaning no apps and very limited functionality outside of media player, social networking and email. There isn't even expandable storage. Microsoft does say it will bring more functionality through OTA updates over time, but out the box it is essentially a pretty dumbphone - the posh SideKick or Chat 3G if you like.
Ultimately, I suspect whether you still 'kin care by this stage (ahhh, now we're on the same page) or not will likely depend whether you're under 18. Ultimately the handsets are fairly slick, if limited in functionality and expandability, but with such a young target audience they should come in with reasonably low RRPs.
Both KIN phones will launch on Verizon in May with an 'Autumn' release in the UK on Vodafone. Will they succeed or fail? I'd say it's 50/50. Personally I think we're looking at a bridging product here, but that's not necessarily a bad thing - especially if you're about 15...