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Microsoft Kin

INFORMING NEXT OF KIN: You gotta hand it to Microsoft—they don’t give up, even when the odds against them are enormous. Rather quietly, the software giant and hardware also-ran has introduced its own smartphone, which has been dubbed the Kin (apparently they’ve overlooked the fact that there’s already a Kindle). The device, manufactured by Sharp, with Verizon tapped as the first carrier, is to the Zune as the iPhone is to the iPod. Its features include music, video, FM radio and podcasts, and Microsoft describes it an “integrated entertainment experience.” The Zune Pass sub service enables the user to access 6 million tracks. The touch-screen Kins are tailored toward social networking, Digital Music News points out in its preview, which contains the requisite skepticism: “But the Kins are not a standard smartphone entry: the OS is not Windows Phone 7, apps are not integral to the action and younger professionals will probably try something else.” (4/14a)

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