The Kin has been a running joke in the tech industry ever since Microsoft pulled the plug just a few months after launch, but it appears as though Microsoft isn’t quite done dragging the brand name through the mud. Anyone who purchased a Kin from Verizon will receive a notice in the coming days informing them that their device will still be able to browse the web, send email, and even stream music, but the Kin Studio social networking service will terminate on January 31st 2011.
What does this mean for Kin owners? The live home screen and social networking features which set the phone apart will not only stop working, but will be forever frozen in place with information retrieved prior to the service shutting down. Users are encouraged to log into the Kin user site to backup any pictures and videos taken by the phone, since they too will cease to exist after January 31st.
Thankfully, Verizon seems to be willing to replace any zombified Kin’s with a free 3G handset of your choice, which is pretty reasonable considering the phone is still semi functional. Let’s just hope Microsoft learns its lesson this time and finally gives up on the Kin once and for all.
Following a cold reception and disappointing sales, Microsoft took its Kin One and Kin Two devices out behind the shed and put them out of our misery, but apparently these failed phones are poised to rise from the dead, so says a leaked document from Verizon.
PPCGeeks.com claims to have received the inside info from a "friend at Verizon," which shows the wireless carrier's Q4 roadmap. Assuming it's accurate, and current, Verizon indeed plans to offer the Kin One and Kin Two phones in time for the holidays.
Didn't Verizon learn from Microsoft's debacle? The answer is 'yes, yes they did.' This time around, the Kin phones are being released as feature phones, meaning no more $30/month data plans. The previously required data plan was in essence a death sentence for Microsoft's Kin devices, given that these phones are primarily targeted at teens.
Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer will have to make do with only a $670,000 cash bonus for the fiscal year ended June 30, which is half of the maximum bonus payout and equal to his annual salary, according to an SEC filing.
In a discussion of Ballmer's pay, the filing brought up the "unsuccessful launch of the Kin phone, loss of market share in the company's mobile phone business, and the need for the company to pursue innovations to take advantage of new form factors."
Microsoft's ill-fated Kin phone lasted only three months on the market before it was axed and can be considered one of the company's bigger flops. Microsoft has also been scrutinized for not competing with Apple's iPad, whether it be their own device (like the Courier) or via a third-party's slate.
Despite all this, Ballmer still managed to help increase sales 7 percent to a record $62.5 billion. Ballmer was also lauded for reducing costs, launching the latest versions of Windows and Office, and promoting cloud computing and gaming.
Ballmer's total pay package comes to $1.34 million for fiscal 2010.
Microsoft may have killed the Kin smartphone all on its own, but it's Verizon who's now throwing dirt on the grave. According to reports, Verizon wants nothing more to do with the device.
"We're getting word, confirmed through two sources, that anything and everything Kin gets sent back to...wherever...starting tomorrow," WMExperts reports. "What happens to them is anyone's guess."
We have a pretty good guess of our own. Given the highly limited production run, someone's going to make off like bandits years from now for having held onto one of these things. In the meantime, internal documents suggest WMExperts' sources are spot on.
"On July 18th Verizon Wireless will discontinue forward sales of the existing Kin One and Kin Two. Customers who currently have a Kin one or Kin Two will continue to be supported," reads an internal message to Verizon employees.
The death of the Microsoft Kin was a blow to us all, but if you find yourself simply unable to cope with this grief on your own, know that you have options. An intrepid member of the Kin community has setup a memorial site for the recently deceased feature phone platform, and gives visitors the opportunity to light a candle in memory of what could have been.
Many grief stricken visitors commented that the Kin will see far more fame in death than it ever did in life, and we are forced to agree. Regardless of whether or not the Kin was actually a decent phone, its death will go down in history as yet another blemish on a company that continues to struggle with its mobile strategy.
R.I.P Kin, born May 13th 2010, passed away June 30th at the ripe old age of 0.
Microsoft's pseudo-smartphone, the Kin, was just launched six weeks ago, and it looks like its days might already be numbered. In a statement Redmond has confirmed that the Kin phones will not be rolling out to Europe as planned, and the entire Kin team is to be integrated into the Windows Phone 7 team. This is also where Microsoft will be focusing their efforts.
The Kin was the spiritual successor to the Sidekick, and was in development for a number of years. The operating system was designed as vertical experience built around social networking. There were no games, and some features (like a calendar and IM) were missing. The launch was plagued by pricing issues. Both the hardware and the monthly service were judged as too expensive by many. Verizon Wireless charges the full smartphone data rate of $30 per month for the Kin phones.
There were rumors that only a few hundred Kins were sold, but Microsoft never confirmed that. At the end of Microsoft's official statement, they say that they "will continue to work with Verizon in the U.S. to sell current KIN phones." It's not clear if that means they will just be selling off inventory. Is it best that Microsoft cuts their losses, or should they have iterated the software before giving up?
Verizon Wireless will begin offering Microsoft's recently announced KIN smartphone online tomorrow, followed by in-store sales on Thursday, May 13. The KIN ONE will sell for $50 while the KIN TWO will command $100, both after a $100 mail-in-rebate (in the form of a debit card) and 2-year service agreement.
Previously known as Project Pink, the KIN ONE and TWO are the first Windows Phones with Zune technology. Microsoft has taken aim at the younger generation by tightly integrating social networking elements. You can think of them as updated SideKicks, which isn't far fetched considering that Sharp made the hardware for both the KIN and SideKick series.
The KIN ONE will ship with a QVGA display, portrait slide-out keyboard, 4GB of storage, and a 5MB camera. The KIN TWO boasts a landscape slide-out keyboard, larger HVGA screen, and twice the amount of storage at 8GB. Storage space is almost irrelevant, however, as both handsets will tap heavily into the cloud, backing up all user content to an unlimited account.
Microsoft's new Kin phones are heavily integrated with social networks and Redmond's new cloud service. The story that Microsoft was really pushing at the event was that the Kin phones will allow users to stay in touch by pulling in all their social networking notifications. But after further clarification from Microsoft, it looks like those notifications will be delayed by as much as 15 minutes.
Microsoft claims that battery life and poor API support from social networks are to blame. While we can certainly see that as a possibility, something just doesn't sit right. According to Engadget (and we agree), this could have something to do with Verizon and their 3G pricing. Big Red recently institute a $10 per month data fee for most non-smartphones. This move could be meant to get a sweeter deal from Verizon, thus keeping the Kin One and Kin Two financially in reach for teens.
Microsoft points out there is a manual refresh button to update all that social whatnot. At this point there are no other 3G restrictions we're aware of. However, these phones have passable web browsers, so perhaps Verizon still intends to limit them to a 25MB monthly cap like seen in the $10 plan. maybe these phones will even be subject to that charge, and the notification compromise was just to avoid the requirement of a full data plan.