Print 23 comment(s) - last by CZroe.. on Feb 12 at 12:35 PM

  (Source: Microsoft)
KIN Studio is officially dead

It’s been almost half a year since Microsoft's KIN handsets were yanked off the market only weeks after launch.  Microsoft is now in the midst of a relatively successful Windows Phone 7 campaign.  What Windows Phone 7 lacks in sales, it at least makes up for in enthusiastic customer reception.  By contrast, the ill-fated KIN project was neither well received nor hot selling.

Microsoft spent millions to complete the KIN project, and in the end reportedly sold less that 10,000 handsets.  Our estimate puts the loss per handset at around $60,000.

Even as Verizon tries to clearance off the remaining KINs as budget phones (sans data package), Microsoft has announced this week that it has officially killed KIN Studios [press release], the unit responsible for handling data services to this cellular monstrosity.

With the death of the studio, so too has died many of the KIN's services.  Specifically, the several thousand KIN users no longer will have access to features including photo sharing, search near me, social media integration.  Zune Pass appears to still be functioning.  And the phones can still make calls and text.  But the already poorly featured KIN devices have become even worse for wear, overnight.

Atari crushed and buried copies of the notoriously awful E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in the New Mexico desert.  Microsoft has not announced any equally dramatic plans for its own blockbuster failure, but the shuttering of KIN's services clearly marks Microsoft's desire to bury any traces that remain of the KIN effort and refocus its efforts on Windows Phone 7.

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Typical MS
By theapparition on 2/1/2011 9:17:49 PM , Rating: 3
I'm not a MS basher, by any means. But MS really screwed the pooch with this one. The Kin was a decent idea, marred by piss poor implementation. Part of that was the company that designed the device, that MS purchased. Part was the carrier insisting on data plans. Part very under performing hardware priced at the same level as top end devices. And part was a horrendous ad campaign. All stirred up and mismanaged to death.

It's a shame really. The Kin "idea" was really good. If MS did things differently, that could have been the tween phone of choice. Instead, they tried to offer everyone a mediocre experience at a premium price.

RE: Typical MS
By ShaolinSoccer on 2/2/2011 3:53:21 AM , Rating: 2
Why can't someone just come out with a gaming phone? It can be just like the new Sony PSP2 (NGS whatever you wanna call it with almost PS3 graphics) and just have the same face on top (with left side controller, screen in the middle and buttons on right side). All it really needs is a good OS and multi-touch screen support so you can have a keyboard to text on. If Sony came out with a gaming device like this WITH cellular support, they would dominate the market! Instead they decided to make a non cellular device. Somone needs to be fired! Am I the only person who would love to have something like this? Right now I have an HTC EVO and it's OK but it's NOT what I really want! Same thing with the iPhone (NOT WHAT I WANT)....

RE: Typical MS
By Aloonatic on 2/2/2011 6:21:35 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I'm not sure why Sony aren't releasing an optional PSP2 phone. Kinda like how Apple have their iPod Touch and iPhone sitting side by side, with relatively similar abilities but one is also a phone.

Maybe their market research has shown that the number of people who want to carry around something as large as the PSP2 probably will be, day in day out, as their primary mobile communications devices is actually rather limited?

Then there are all the tariff/phone plan issues that come along with making the PSP2phone too, and perhaps they don't want to add that layer of confusion/hassle to the consumers purchase decision when they look into buying a mobile gaming device, which might push a fair few people towards just buying a 3DS and being done with it. I guess a lot of parents are probably happy that the DS (and I'm assuming 3DS will be the same) is somewhat limited in what it can do too, so that they can leave it in the hands of their kids without fearing it being abused.

RE: Typical MS
By CZroe on 2/2/2011 6:23:48 AM , Rating: 2
See my other reply.

RE: Typical MS
By CZroe on 2/2/2011 6:22:20 AM , Rating: 3
Were you asleep when Sony also announced the Sony-Ericsson Xperia Play (AKA "Playstation phone") at the same time? They announced Playstation Suite for certified Android devices and leaked S-E XP impressions revealed a "Playstation Pocket" app weeks earlier. Pics of this were all over by the time NGP was announced.

RE: Typical MS
By Aloonatic on 2/2/2011 6:56:49 AM , Rating: 2
AFAIK, the long wait Xperia Play is not quite on the same level as the PSP2, but that might be more to do with the lack of information that has been released, or that I have seen.

Is it capable of the same level of graphical performance that PSP2 is? With the 2 thumb sticks that the PSP2 has? At least, that it has as far as I know based on the PSP2 photos that I've seen. I know it's dangerous to assume that they are 100% reliable. Anyway, if not, then I guess the OP will still be disappointed.

RE: Typical MS
By CZroe on 2/2/2011 4:33:04 PM , Rating: 2
Of course it's not. Don't tell me that you actually expect the same specs. To expect the same specs from a phone is like a wishing you could play PS3 games on an old PSone. The technology for fitting the Sony NGP / PSP2 tech into a phone form factor without ruining the phone functionality just isn't here yet. It has 3G data and Bluetooth so it has everything it needs to be able to make calls despite the form factor but the form factor alone means that you will not be carrying it around in your pocket nearly as many places as you would expect to take your phone. Perhaps they'll make a Skype app like the original PSP to keep people happy.

You can look it up. It is designed very much like a PSP Go except that it has two circular touch-sensitive analog areas where dual analog sticks would be (no nub at all). If you hadn't noticed, Sony's NGP / PSP2 is WAY too big to sell as a phone and the control methods absolutely dictate the form fact, so it can't be adapted to one. For example, sticks can't go in a slider without making it excessively thick (the NGP / PSP2 is already very thick), hence the Xperia Play's method for the slider phone. The touch panel on the back, the accelerometers, and the button layout dictate a specific way to play that prevent if from every being adapted to a phone form factor without compromises. The battery life is expected to be abysmal compared to what you expect from a phone (probably 3-5 hours).

RE: Typical MS
By Aloonatic on 2/8/2011 11:02:47 AM , Rating: 2
So your reply to a post about a PSP2 phone, implying that we are morons for not having noticed the articles about the Playstation Phone, was in fact irrelevant, as the PS Phone is no where near the specs of the PSP2, so not a PSP2 Phone.


As for size, Yeah, I tend to agree that it's too large to be carried around as a day to day device, the way that they have deigned it. It would have been nice for them to put a SIM card slot in it tho, so that you might be able to use it as a phone on the occasions that you decided to take it out. Even then, some people wouldn't mind the size too, for use every day.

It probably would have been better if they had not made it so large in the first place though. I'm not sure how much of a fanbase the PSP has, I hope that it's enough for them to fight off the 3DS and mobile phone games, but I'm not sure that Sony haven't set off down a blind ally and may well be out of the mobile gaming hardware business fairly soon.

RE: Typical MS
By CZroe on 2/12/2011 12:35:08 PM , Rating: 2
What he said was "Why can't someone just come out with a gaming phone?" They are, so I said so.

I didn't imply that anyone was a moron, just that they unknowingly complained about something that has been addressed and was already big news. Granted, he did follow that up with "It can be just like the new Sony PSP2 (NGS whatever you wanna call it with almost PS3 graphics)." Notice the word "can." He didn't say that it had to be that way to address his "gaming phone" desire. In fact, it really COULDN'T, so I rightly said so.

Now, you say "it would have been nice for them to put a SIM card slot in it." We know that it will have 3G data and is being designed for the world, so it likely will have a SIM card in most markets. Sony announced that it would not make calls because of the form factor. Remember the backlash over the "side-talkin' " N-Gage "taco phone" form factor? I think that's what they want to avoid because a headset or Bluetooth really makes form factor a non-issue for making calls.

RE: Typical MS
By ltgrunt on 2/2/2011 8:53:36 AM , Rating: 2
Do you not remember the N-Gage?

So those who bought one...
By Prosthetic Head on 2/2/2011 8:51:08 AM , Rating: 2
So those poor sods who actually bought one have just been screwed over even more by having the service shut down. Is that even legal? Will MS have to compensate those customers?

RE: So those who bought one...
By kleinma on 2/2/2011 10:21:06 AM , Rating: 4
welcome to the cloud.. the magical place where overnight things you paid good money for can be gone.

What about all that DRM protected crap people buy from places like iTunes and the like... you pay money for it.. but if it needs to phone home to validate that you bought it, then do you really own it? If "home" no longer exists one day, will you be stuck with a bunch of content that you can't consume?

RE: So those who bought one...
By b534202 on 2/2/2011 2:34:14 PM , Rating: 2
Which is why new services are so difficult to get off the ground. People would (and should) stick with the established services (Steam, iTunes) instead of risking losing all their data/money.

People who bought this phone are brave, but got suckered.

By BugblatterIII on 2/3/2011 7:04:04 PM , Rating: 2
Plenty of people got royally screwed when MS closed down the 'Plays For Sure' servers.

Microsoft's advice to those customers? Burn the songs to a CD then rip them.

Just one of the reasons I never buy anything online that has DRM.

RE: So those who bought one...
By Smilin on 2/2/2011 1:23:08 PM , Rating: 3
The reseller is Verizon and the contract is with them...and no Verizon is not doing jack Sh** to help their customers here.

By fishman on 2/2/2011 7:23:55 AM , Rating: 2
Since Microsoft is killing features, can Kin owners get out of their contracts with no penalty? If, not, then Microsoft has created another public relations disaster.

RE: Contracts
By Luticus on 2/2/2011 8:42:48 AM , Rating: 2
They could always just send them low end "comparable" wp7 phones.

Do it on a complaint basis, everyone who sends in their old kin (or a receipt or their esn or whatever) gets a comparable wp7 phone. Put a reasonable time limit on there and then if they don't send in for it then they don't get it.

That's what i'd do. :)

RE: Contracts
By theapparition on 2/2/2011 12:22:14 PM , Rating: 2
I hardly call denying features to the few people who still have Kin phones a public relations disaster.
Rather, this will quickly be forgotten, just like people who paid lifetime subscription to ReplayTV (which went under and shut down service) or one of the myriad of other techs that floundered.

However, I do believe that Kin owners should be able to get out of thier contracts.

RE: Contracts
By name99 on 2/2/2011 7:30:25 PM , Rating: 2
Not at all.
The PRIMARY "feature" Microsoft is selling is "reliability". That's why they have supported so many crappy features in Windows for so long; they want to say that "invest in us and you're safe". They've now trashed that reputation. The new reputation will be "yeah, if you have to use Windows, MS will be there to support you --- but don't be stupid enough to try anything else they may ship".

At the very least, MS COULD have done something like offer a free Win Phone 7 to everyone involved, and make a big deal about this --- "we make mistakes, but customers don't pay for them".
But as far as I know they have made no such effort --- and this sends a very very strong message.

RE: Contracts
By theapparition on 2/3/2011 9:16:22 AM , Rating: 2
Again, only the tech-heads and people affected actually care, and that's a very, very small portion of the market. This will have zero impact on MS's image.

RE: Contracts
By Smilin on 2/2/2011 1:20:53 PM , Rating: 2
It's a Verizon decision. Results I've seen so far (myself and from others):

If you cancel your contract you get a smartphone early termination fee instead of a feature phone. Sure it's a feature phone *now* but it was a smartphone when you bought it.

If you ask to be switched to another phone it will be a feature phone and they'll actually deny your request until you twist their arm completely off, smack them with it, then point out that they offered to do this to begin with (per mail to customers).

I gave Verizon the middle finger, paid the fat fee then left. I was an 8 year customer and I'll *never* be back.

Bummer about the Kin. Nobody understands how awesome that little thing was. It did few things but those few things it did better faster and easier than Android or iOS. It was full of clever.

The real tragedy:
By Samus on 2/1/2011 11:40:30 PM , Rating: 2
They destroyed Danger.

I'm excited at least Samsung is reviving the Sidekick with Android.

RE: The real tragedy:
By CZroe on 2/2/2011 6:28:35 AM , Rating: 2
And yet DailyTech only attributed the previous models to Sharp an Motorola! Danger was ahead of the curb. It's a shame that the Sidekick/HipTop wasn't marketed with the manufacturer's name like the various Verizon "Droid" handsets. They deserved to make a name for themselves and T-Mobile kinda shut them out just so they could shop around for successor handsets.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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