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The Kin: A Phone for Teens and Young Adults

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Microsoft last week released the Kin, a mobile phone for teens and young adults. It's seen as a move by the Redmond software giant to get at the lucrative mobile market, in ways similar to Google's Nexus One.

However, instead of marketing the phone in the conventional way - to business-orientated people, as with their Windows Phone 7 and Windows Mobile-powered devices, Microsoft has taken a novel approach at the mobile phone: pushing it as a gadget for teens and young adults.

There are two phones in the Kin range, under the Microsoft brand but manufactured by hardware maker Toshiba: the Kin One and Kin Two.

Both mobiles come with support for popular social networks like Twitter, MySpace and Facebook, and include a competent instant messenger app.

The mobiles are seen as a "perfect fit" for teens who are interested in taking their online social lives with them on-the-go, but don't want to shell out for an expensive smartphone like the Apple iPhone or Nexus One. Microsoft has even taken this idea one step further: it doesn't tie its users to an "app store", a fad that every mobile manufacturer has taken to since Apple's runaway success with its App Store on the iPhone.

Information is not currently available on when the phones are set to release in South Africa, but I'm sure that if it does, it will be a major success. This country alone has a huge market of teenagers and young adults who enjoy an online social life, and would love to have access to their friends from networks like Facebook and Twitter via rich applications on a mobile.

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