updated 08:05 pm EDT, Wed June 30, 2010
Kin's exit to lead to desktop OS-level mobile
Microsoft's decision to cancel the Kin may ultimately lead to a unified, desktop-level OS strategy for mobile, if a detailed leak from within the company said tonight. Windows division president Steven Sinofsky is said to be angling for control over the mobile group and would be shifting the entire company strategy to settle on a unified Windows 8 platform. The Engadget tip didn't say how close Sinofsky was to achieving his short-term goal.
Other details have also provided color as to the pre-launch conflicts that doomed Kin. The mobile group's senior vice president Andy Lees allegedly told the team for what was then called Project Pink to scrap all the work and start again based on a Windows CE platform solely for the sake of basing it on Windows. Remaking the OS for the Kin not only delayed it by 1.5 years but cost a deal with Verizon that many now believe as crucial to Kin's survival. The US carrier had been willing to offer heavily discounted plans to cater to the teen market, but the delay led Verizon to insist on charging for a full $70 smartphone plan, guaranteeing the Kin One and Kin Two would be ignored in favor of smartphones.
Windows Phone 7 isn't thought to be affected, but a Windows 8 strategy would mark a major change in direction in the mobile industry for Microsoft at a minimum. The emphasis so far has been on developing mobile-optimized software that, while limited, is often better suited to the performance, battery life and security concerns on phones; Apple is likely to beat most if not all sales records for Microsoft's Tablet PC concept with the iPad as its scaled-up UI has resonated more than Microsoft's attempts to scale down desktop Windows. A successful desktop-class OS on a mobile device would give Microsoft an edge in capabilities, although any development if cleared would likely take several years. Windows 8 by itself may not ship until 2011 or 2012.