Microsoft Corp launched a line of phones aimed at young people on Monday, marking a fresh assault on the low end of the growing smartphone market, where it has been losing out to BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, Apple Inc and Google Inc.

The software company's first foray into designing its own phones comes six months before it rolls out its new Windows software for phones made by handset makers HTC, Samsung and others, which should be a more direct challenge to Apple's iPhone and Google's Android phones.

The new phones launched on Monday, called Kin One and Kin Two, are made by Japan's Sharp Corp and will be sold by Verizon Wireless, a joint venture between Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group.

(Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)