Microsoft announced the upcoming release of Kin, a "deeply social" mobile phone series targeting users between the ages of 15 and 30.
Kin's release follows Microsoft's purchase of Mobile Hiptop -- also known as the T-Mobile Sidekick -- in 2008. The Kin series includes a feature set focused on an individual user's circle of friends and social activity.
Kin phones feature a slide-out keyboard, a touch screen, and a camera. Though Kin hardware appears to be capable of supporting gaming content, the phones do not have a dedicated application storefront, and no game-related content has yet been announced.
Kin 1 and the more expensive and feature-rich Kin 2 will be the first phones to come equipped with access to Microsoft's Zune service. The Kin series will arrive several months in advance of the planned holiday 2010 launch of the Windows Phone 7 series, which also includes Zune functionality.
"This is a new deeply social phone that gives people what they want," said Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division. "Windows Phone 7 is about simplifying. This phone is about amplifying our life."
Kin phones are manufactured by Sharp, and will be distributed through a partnership with Verizon Wireless and Vodaphone. The Kin series will launch in May.