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Microsoft resurrecting Kin as feature phone

updated 09:40 pm EST, Thu November 11, 2010

Kin One and Two reappear on Verizon roadmap

Microsoft's ill-fated Kin One and Kin Two are returning to Verizon, a leaked fall roadmap revealed tonight. Despite having sold just 8,810 phones, the phone designer is bringing the two devices back as the OneM and TwoM. PPCGeeks' copy of the roadmap would have both sold as basic feature phones and consequently dodging the $30 smartphone plan requirement widely credited for killing the popularity of the devices in their brief six-week initial run.

As a consequence, both are likely to lose advanced features like the Kin Studio online sharing and backup service but should still have support for Zune music as well as a calendar, e-mail and messaging. The hardware appears to be unchanged and would have the squat Kin One toting a five-megapixel camera and 4GB of built-in storage while the more conventional Kin Two gets an eight-megapixel camera and 8GB of storage. The Kin Two would also have the higher resolution display and record 720p video, a rarity in the category.

When exactly the line would return isn't known, but they would both be slated to return before the end of 2010.

Until the launch of Windows Phone 7 just this week, the Kin was symbolic of Microsoft's seeming inability to adapt to modern phones as well as a tendency towards internal corporate rivalries. The project may have been sabotaged from the inside by a Windows Phone team that believed it detracted from Microsoft's main smartphone efforts. If true, the company's mobile lead Andy Lees forced a switch away from the leaner and largely ready code from the Danger Sidekick and towards Windows CE, leading to an 18-month delay that may have blown a deal with Verizon for smartphone-level data at much cheaper prices. By the time the Kin One and Kin Two shipped, devices like the Motorola Droid and Palm Pixi Plus cost as much or less but had many more features and more advanced apps.

The youth-focused design's emphasis on data may have also cost it some ground. Most teenagers thrive on texting, but the requirement of a smartphone plan not only raised the minimum cost of a plan to $70 per month but didn't include any messaging whatsoever.

Recent Verizon data plan changes could improve the phones' adoption significantly, as it no longer requires a data plan for certain non-smartphone devices and has a $15, 150MB tier that could significantly lower the total cost.





By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. climacs

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Sep 2001

    +8

    bite my rear, wrenchy and luckyday

    "The project may have been sabotaged from the inside by a Windows Phone team that believed it detracted from Microsoft's main smartphone efforts. If true, the company's mobile lead Andy Lees forced a switch away from the leaner and largely ready code from the Danger Sidekick and towards Windows CE, leading to an 18-month delay that may have blown a deal with Verizon for smartphone-level data at much cheaper prices."

    Now, that's some concentrated, industrial-strength stupidity.

  1. jpellino

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 1999

    +6

    Kin

    The Black Knight of phones.

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008

    +8

    If at first you don't succeed...

    FAIL, FAIL again. I'm also sure the Kin project was sabotaged within Microsoft. I don't see a reason why they need it now. Microsoft should now be totally focused on the WP7 platform.

    I think if the Kin was marketed properly they would have sold a few more of them. Reduce the monthly plan if it's targeted for teens. Now it just seems redundant.

  1. tonton

    Senior User

    Joined: Mar 2001

    +11

    Inventory

    They're just selling these to get rid of the inventory of the millions they produced in erroneously anticipated sales for he original launch of the device. Their alternative would be to destroy them or donate them. Of course Microsoft would rather try and sell them. Personally, I'd prefer if they were donated to third-world countries or disaster hit locations.

  1. samirsshah

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2010

    +1

    Microsoft

    No..........................................

  1. macnnoel

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005

    0

    would this be twice is nice...

    or

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_did_the_expression_'third_try_is_a_charm'_come_about

  1. Foe Hammer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005

    0

    MS Could At Least ...

    ... hand out 89,000 of them to some of their closest ... uh ... friends.

  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999

    0

    Gigli

    This reminds me of the Gigli movie posters that was taken down overnight immediately after the premiere. The movie did so poorly, Sony ordered all the posters and billboards to be removed and replaced with new releases.

    Cut your losses.

    Hey, what about the inventory? Might as well sell them and recover some $$$. MSFT is getting the environMENTAL award of 2010.

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