Print 37 comment(s) - last by mcnabney.. on Jul 1 at 9:11 PM

KIN's dead baby, KIN's dead

We can't say that we didn't see this one coming. When Microsoft announced the the KIN One and KIN Two smartphones in April, we were concerned that the customers targeted by Microsoft -- those ranging from tweens to college-aged adults -- just weren't gonna fall for these socially-geared phones.

It appears that Microsoft found out too late that no one was buying their story about how well these devices would be received by consumers. Today, Microsoft confirmed that both the KIN One and KIN Two are getting the axe:

We have made the decision to focus exclusively on Windows Phone 7 and we will not ship KIN in Europe this fall as planned. Additionally, we are integrating our KIN team with the Windows Phone 7 team, incorporating valuable ideas and technologies from KIN into future Windows Phone releases. We will continue to work with Verizon in the U.S. to sell current KIN phones.

The chubby KIN One was priced at $49 while the keyboard-equipped KIN Two was priced at $99 (both after a $100 mail-in rebate). In addition, both phones had to be paired with a $29 data plan on Verizon's network.

In the face of such powerful (and much more capable) competition like the $99 Apple iPhone 3GS and the $129 HTC Aria, the two KIN phones never stood a chance.

Reviews gave the two devices a "meh" for the most part with Engadget saying, "Here are much better choices for much less money on the market, and Microsoft hasn't demonstrated to us why you would choose this phone over those" and Gizmodo adding, "This bizarre pricing will make potential KIN buyers' minds jump from messaging phones, which the KIN compares favorably to, to thoughts of smartphones, with app stores and full mapping and real browsers."

So long KIN, we hardly knew ye.

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Windows Phone 7
By kmmatney on 6/30/2010 6:14:09 PM , Rating: 1
I honestly have a hard time seeing phones with Windows Phone 7 doing much better. They are a bit late to the game, and probably won't have anything better to offer over iPhones or Android phones.

RE: Windows Phone 7
By Brandon Hill on 6/30/2010 6:22:51 PM , Rating: 5
I think they'll have an uphill battle, but I wouldn't count them out just yet.

RE: Windows Phone 7
By mcnabney on 6/30/10, Rating: -1
RE: Windows Phone 7
By inighthawki on 6/30/2010 6:46:51 PM , Rating: 5
I'm actually looking forward to windows phone 7 phones. Yeah it's true not many people are too interested in zunes, but the reason why is not because they are bad.

I have a zune hd and i absolutely LOVE the interface. Probably the best I've ever used on a mobile device. I've seen a dozen iphones and android phones and not a single one has really caught my interest.

Win7 phones look really interesting to me though, and look FAR more creative and innovative than the iphone os, which is just a polished off version of every other mobile OS out there with the standard icon layout and glossy button ui thats available on everything these days.

The iphone os does have the massive advantage of apps, but lets face it, if you have looked into win phone 7 development at all you can see it has the potential to skyrocket. The application development is all done very consistently using some top of the line design tools in visual studio. There is even a special version of visual studio available for win phone 7 development with a full gui designer much like the windows forms designer interface available in past visual studio IDEs.

While I'm not particularly happy about the forceful push towards solely C#/XNA development, it happens to be a great set of libraries for novice developers to make something great.

Managed memory in C#/.NET makes application development on the phone quicker and reduces the bugginess of code for those that are not incredibly skilled in C/C++, and the built in libraries offer a vast amount of code already done for you. I think the win phone 7 series might end up more like xbox. It started off really slow and waited long to get into the game, but like they did with 360, they gave developers a LOT of good free tools to really kick it off, and look how it turned out. It is arguably the most popular console out to date, with the exception of the wii, though i think in terms of rate of sales its likely to catch up soon if it hasn't already.

But sadly if you think that win phone 7 is anything like the KIN attempt, then you are completely wrong. With all of my excitement for win phone 7 and my love of my zune hd, I think these things look like utter garbage, so you can only imagine how little popularity they really have.

RE: Windows Phone 7
By theplaidfad on 6/30/2010 6:58:43 PM , Rating: 1
Steve? Mr. Ballmer, is that really you?

RE: Windows Phone 7
By lagitup on 6/30/2010 7:25:10 PM , Rating: 5
No, really, every point he makes is valid and practical. Also bear in mind that xda developers is essentially an (quite large) evangelist community for anything with an HTC logo, and that HTC is supporting WinPhone 7. Heh, see what I did there? WinPhone?

RE: Windows Phone 7
By theplaidfad on 7/1/10, Rating: 0
RE: Windows Phone 7
By Phoque on 6/30/2010 9:39:54 PM , Rating: 2
I would certainly consider a Windows Phone 7. I'm just wondering if Microsoft will make their own smartphone using it, and, if not, why. I see the Zune as being a good start ( maybe not in terms of sales, but in terms of engineering experience ), similar to the way Apple had it coming, before launching their own smartphone.

RE: Windows Phone 7
By xler8r on 7/1/10, Rating: 0
RE: Windows Phone 7
By Reclaimer77 on 6/30/2010 7:33:42 PM , Rating: 2
Really? I freaking LOVE my Zune. It's the best portable media player out there, sorry iPod. The biggest reason is, you don't have to use iTunes.

Plus Microsoft has never told me I was "holding it wrong" for it to work :)

RE: Windows Phone 7
By kmmatney on 7/1/2010 2:11:07 AM , Rating: 2
The Zunes were was destined to fail, IMO. When they first came out, I was pretty excited - I thought they would offer more features and a better price. I figured they HAD to, since they were late to the game, they needed to give people incentive to buy them. However they didn't offer any more value - they put themselves at the same prices points as iPods, and unsurprisingly did not sell well.

They were a year late (or more) coming out with a solid state player everyone (including me) has bought their Nanos by then. When they finally did come out, they priced themselves the same as Apple.

By the time the iPod touch came out, it was all over. Again, they didn't give any incentive - like a camera - to buy one. The Touch blows away the Zune HD as a total entertainment device. The only real thing it has going for it is that it is not made by Apple.

As for iTunes - it isn't any worse than the alternatives. You need to spend about a minute getting it configured right (and uninstall the crap you don't need) and it works fine. There are plenty of free alternatives you can use with the iPods as well. I use Floola for my nano, and keep it durectly on the device, so I never need to install software to transfer music. For my phone, I used iTunes once to transfer music and update the OS, but get everythijng else directly on the phone through Wifi or 3G. I do like itunes for listening to my music library in general, though. I tried using my own folders for a while, but iTunes just makes it easier once the music collection gets past 20 GBs.

RE: Windows Phone 7
By hughlle on 7/1/2010 4:51:30 AM , Rating: 2
can't comment on the HD zune vs touch, but my 80gb zune just stomps all over the arse of my ipod classic.

RE: Windows Phone 7
By nafhan on 7/1/2010 10:09:44 AM , Rating: 2
Don't count MS out until they run out of money.
Cell phones going forward are THE mass market computing platform. There's no way MS is going to give up on it even if Windows Phone 7 is a complete failure.

the commercials didn't help
By BadAcid on 6/30/2010 5:49:35 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe if they didn't advertise it by showing a creepy guy taking pictures of his ex and uploading them to his network, then try to pass it off as her being the bad guy for getting aggravated by this jerk.

RE: the commercials didn't help
By mcnabney on 6/30/2010 6:26:09 PM , Rating: 3
It isn't the creepy guy. They broke a cardinal rule of mobile device segmentation:

Thou shalt not sell a feature phone as a smartphone.

This is a simple phone that can do social networking and texting well, but is being thrown up against full fledged Android, iOS, and even WebOS devices. These would have been fine at $30 and $50 with a $10/mo data requirement instead of the $30/mo smartphone data plan.

Which would you want to have, a Droid or KinTwo - which cost the same in monthly service?

RE: the commercials didn't help
By Spivonious on 7/1/2010 8:26:47 AM , Rating: 2
That's not MS's fault, it's Verizon's.

RE: the commercials didn't help
By mcnabney on 7/1/2010 9:00:55 PM , Rating: 2
No, it is Microsoft's.

They designed the product with integrated cloud backup. Cloud backup of that much potential data and the bandwidth to push it is significant.

The Android approach is better. The Gmail association remembers all apps and status (and can be instantly reconstituted on a replacement device when you lose your Incredible), but you are responsible for getting your own data off.

RE: the commercials didn't help
By mckinney on 7/1/2010 12:55:42 AM , Rating: 2
I dont normally visit Wired (referred by another site) but they have a picture of Robbie Bach in a pink shirt at the rollout of Kin and he has this look of "WTF am I doing here ?" on his face. But it could be his "OMG, Balmers gonna fire my a$$ in two weeks" look...

RE: the commercials didn't help
By robinthakur on 7/1/2010 8:02:21 AM , Rating: 2
Why do both you and Wired point out that Robbie Bach is wearing a pink shirt?!? Is this unusual in America? lol How odd...!

By Spivonious on 7/1/2010 8:28:12 AM , Rating: 1
In the U.S., a guy wearing pink is seen as a sign he's a fluff.

RE: the commercials didn't help
By mckinney on 7/1/2010 10:50:05 AM , Rating: 2
Because when MS bought the Danger, its developmental project code name was "Pink". Whats so odd about that?

By AlphaVirus on 7/1/2010 10:31:51 AM , Rating: 4
I thought that EVERY time the commercial aired on several different stations.
I can't understand what the advertisement company was thinking when they decided to put a negative situation to try and sell a new device.

Probably would've been better if they had a few teens running around snapping pictures of each other and then when they get home they start uploading and sharing.

Death Of Kin
By btc909 on 6/30/2010 6:38:38 PM , Rating: 2
"So how much is the data plan?" $29.99 "emmmm no thanks what else do you have that is in the $10 range?"

Microsoft wasn't bright enough to figure out teenagers weren't going to fork over $30 just for the data plan alone? I'm sure Microsoft was getting a kickback of that $30 but still, if you can't sell enough phones that kickback isn't going to make a difference if you have to end up pulling the phones from the market.

I agree the creepy dude with the pissy ex-girlfriend was a bad way to advertise.

RE: Death Of Kin
By Luticus on 7/1/2010 9:19:41 AM , Rating: 2
i don't think Microsoft had much to do with the price of the data plan there buddy... i think that's probably more Verizon's fault than anyone else. $30 is just their standard data plan rate. It's the same think i pay for my Omnia phone.

I do agree that they phones weren't in their niche markets pricing and therefore were doomed from the start. Honestly I don't understand why they didn't ax this idea a long time ago and just focus on win phone 7... had they done that they might be releasing it with copy/paste and multitasking... who knows. I had high hopes for windows phone 7 but with some critical features (that winMo 6.x has) missing i might be looking at alternatives when the time come to get a new phone. not touching android or iphoneOS... that's for sure.

RE: Death Of Kin
By mcnabney on 7/1/2010 9:11:31 PM , Rating: 2
Feature phones, like the Rogue, pay the $10 data rate.

Smartphones, like the Pre, Storm, or Droid, pay the $30 data plan because they use a whole lot more data.

The automatic online backup is a bandwidth hog. I have shot a ton of video on my Droid, probably 10GB worth. Imagine having to keep that backed-up across a 3G network. Now if it was an amazing feature that everyone wanted I could imagine the higher cost being worth it, but I imagine that 99.999% of wireless consumers would say 'no' to paying an extra $20/mo for automatic data backup and access.

RE: Death Of Kin
By nafhan on 7/1/2010 10:15:22 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, Verizon's data plans make it pretty stupid to buy a feature phone. You're pretty much paying the same whether you get a feature phone or a real smartphone. With some Android phones being free after rebate, the only reason to get a feature phone would be if you find smart phones "to complicated."

RE: Death Of Kin
By johnsonx on 7/1/2010 12:30:12 PM , Rating: 2
no, verizon does have a data plan for "feature phones". It's only $5 a month, or maybe $10, I don't recall (and am not going to go look it up for you). Verizon decides which data plan a phone will use. Full smartphones of course use the full data plan.

It seems Microsoft should have negotiated with Verizon to get the Kin phones on the cheaper feature phone data plan, or launched with someone else who would.

That shouldn't be interpereted to say that I give a crap that the Kin is gone, as I don't. I saw no reason for the device to exist in the first place.

RE: Death Of Kin
By nafhan on 7/1/2010 3:45:02 PM , Rating: 2
Got curious. You were right, it's $10 for the feature phone data plan, which is limited to 250MB of data usage. Feature phones can also use the same $29.99 "unlimited" plan that smartphones are required to get.
Cheapest plan I could put together with a "feature" phone (Chocolate Touch for $80) was $49.98 per month after the first month. With the Droid ($150), I was able to put together a $69.98 plan. Both plans had to pay per text message, 450 min talk time, and required a $35 activation fee.

RE: Death Of Kin
By nafhan on 7/1/2010 3:46:52 PM , Rating: 2
I also noticed that when I tried to close the checkout page, I got a popup with a $30 off promo code.

By JDub02 on 6/30/2010 9:16:29 PM , Rating: 3
... Sounds like a song.

It wasn't that the KINs were bad phones, it's just that they were stuck with a $30/month data plan from Verizon. Since the plans were the same, who's going to pay for a KIN when DROIDs and other true smartphones are in the same ballpark and do so much more?

If they were billed as feature phones and only required the $10 data plan, they would have sold alot better because they compete better with the phones in that segment.

For teenage girls
By spathotan on 6/30/2010 5:48:25 PM , Rating: 2
This device only catered to teenage girls and twitter addicts. It also dosent help that most modern smartphones (at least Android 2.1) has facebook/twitter updates intergrated in the contacts list.

By Phoque on 6/30/2010 6:10:09 PM , Rating: 2
Oh my god. Bill should talk with Steve, just for marketing.

Hope they learned their lesson
By carniver on 6/30/2010 7:10:15 PM , Rating: 2
Nobody wants something that looks like crap, and works like crap, yet costs so much. Not even kids. We want something that looks sleek, works great, and is a bang for the buck. You've been unwise to have created this product but nonetheless, you're wise to kill it now.

There are tons of opportunities out there, things that not even Apple or google did right. Apple is overly restrictive in what they thing is right, from the GUI design to what applications can be run. Google is being too open, and ended up with a product that isn't very well defined or polished. (e.g. vendor updates, syncing).

Make a product that syncs well with Windows. Give it a stylus option, since touch screen sucks in precision. A clamshell design would be nice since I know I love it. Yes that's exactly what the Courier is. Integrate it with MSN Messenger and you'll create another monopoly, that may even make facebook/twitter obsolete.

Game over man!
By Adul on 6/30/2010 7:14:43 PM , Rating: 2
Hudson: [after the drop ship crash] That's great, this is really fuckin' great, man. Now, what the fuck are we supposed to do? We're in some pretty shit now, man.
Hicks: [Grabs him by the shirt] Are you finished?
Kin: Guess we're not gonna make it, are we?
Ripley: I'm sorry, Kin.
Kin: Don't be sorry, it wasn't your fault.
Hudson: That's it, man. Game over, man. Game over, what the fuck are we supposed to now, huh, what are we gonna do?

Oh darn.
By Motoman on 6/30/2010 8:17:49 PM , Rating: 2
...I could never figure out exactly why MS thought anyone would want one of those things in the first place. Giggly teenybopper or not.

By sleepeeg3 on 7/1/2010 3:02:57 AM , Rating: 2
It seems like they get right up to "gold" stage on many of their products, before abandoning them. Many of these products have good ideas, but are obviously doomed to fail, because of some critical flaws from anyone looking at them objectively. Their management really needs to take a better look at how they spend their money. The endless gravy train of Windows may not always be there.

On a side note, I hope Kinect takes off. It looks like another excellent concept and they at least have a few major developers on board, but in the back of my mind, I keep wondering are they releasing it prematurely?

By JonnyDough on 7/1/2010 5:20:36 AM , Rating: 1
Keep it in the box...worth a fortune someday! :)

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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