Microsoft announced a new phone this morning: the Kin, which will be available from Verizon this May. Apparently, the phone's most prominent technical feature is to make you feel old as dirt.

At Kin.com, Microsoft promotes its new semi-smartphone with videos that show a bunch of hipsters doing what hipsters do: riding each other on piggyback; listening to indie rock at nightclubs with exactly 17 people in the crowd; having messy hair; burning photos in a bonfire; and, duh, insisting they need Kin, the most ADHD-addled phone ever.
"Sometimes you need a phone that will make a call and send a text and take a photograph and find a piece of music, and then send it to all the people you love, all that [sic] the same time."

Say that again, sonny?



In simpler terms, the Kin appears to be an entry-level touchscreen phone for teens (complete with a smiley-face button on the keyboard). The smaller version, the Kin One, looks like a cool, junior-sized device—if the Palm Pixi was a little squatter and had some personality—while the Kin Two looks like a Droid. Both models include Bing local search and Zune music/video playback, which immediately put them one level higher than most entry-level touchscreens.

At the announcement, Microsoft hyped Kin's "dot" feature: Use your fingers to copy and paste any phone or web content—typically multiple things at once—into a prominent dot at the bottom of the screen, then pick people to send that stuff to. But in the demo, the dot only allowed sending via e-mail or SMS.

On Facebook, a send-at-once feature might actually be useful—you could put together a party invite page, for example, complete with photos and links to where the party will be, and sort it all out in just a few finger-taps. As it stands, though, friends who don't own the Kin will be stuck with cumbersome attachments, not an elegant media-sharing experience.

Even worse is the Kin's lack of ties to the mega-hyped Windows Phone 7 line, set for release later this year. If the Kin isn't compatible with WP7 apps like Foursquare, for example, how's Kali Hipsterstein gonna "dot" her every appearance at The Unicorn?

A sub-iPhone-level device, ultimately, depends on a price point (which we don't know yet). Without app support, this thing lies squarely in the domain of discount hunters and parents looking for a cheap phone for their brats. Price it a penny over $79, Microsoft, and you may as well rename it Kindling.