The Kin 2 is a three way collaborative effort involving Microsoft, Sharp, and Verizon. The result is a new approach on the way to Smartphone telephony that for me was disappointment piled on disappointment. It seems strange somehow that while the Windows Mobile operating system is ready for a serious redo, this Microsoft device has nothing to do with WM OS.
Right out of the gate, the most profound and amazing letdown is the fact that it is not possible to add any applications to this unit. You must accept it as is. So there’s no use complaining about the lack of an app store, for there are no apps. Unbelievable.
You cannot even add things like Google Maps. Of course there is no GPS and not even a way to add third party functionality with an antenna because you cannot install any software.
While you can access Google Docs and Notebook you cannot edit or create new documents. If you want to access other Microsoft applications such as Word or Excel or PowerPoint you can forget about it. There’s not even a way to take notes or to record audio notes.
I could go on about how it won’t make 31 flavors of ice cream and it won’t stop a missile attack, but it was never intended for these things. What was the intention? Apparently the developers have isolated a target market for this device among the younger generation and its preoccupation with music, photos, texting, and social networking. But what about gaming? Sorry, no games—not even solitaire.
The programs that come pre-installed on the device facilitate the above functions, and that’s about it. The installed apps include the following: Phone, Music, Help, Alarm, Browser, Settings, Email, Feed Reader, and Search. By the way, the search function only applies to items on the phone, not the Internet, and there is no voice search.
All these apps appear on one of three panels that can be rotated into view when the device is turned on.
Two more panels are available with the flick of a finger (yes, it is finger friendly—but the scrolling is slow). One of the screens contains posts from your favorite social networking sites such as My Space, Facebook, and Twitter. This page is called the Kin Loop. The remaining page contains your favorite contacts with pictures if you wish and access to all the rest of your contacts.
These would be handy functions for many people. You can add more content to the apps page as links to your favorite Websites, which is nice. But you are still limited to only three pages.
An innovative feature that goes along with the teenie bopper crowd that this device is apparently aimed at is the ability to share stuff. There is a little blue button at the bottom of every screen. This is called the Kin Spot. All you have to do is drag something to it and you can share it with your pals. It can be a file, a Website, a picture, a video, a tune, an email, a text message, w...