Microsoft Kills Kin Phone
- By Chris Paoli
- July 1, 2010
After only two months on the market, Microsoft pulling the plug on its line of social media-friendly phones.
Instead, Microsoft has decided to roll the Kin line and its development group into the Windows Phone 7 team. The company has also cancelled the scheduled launch date of the Kin overseas.
In an official statement, Microsoft had this to say:
"We have made the decision to focus on our Windows Phone 7 launch 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."
Whether this means that the series of phones will disappear completely or reemerge in a new form with the release of Windows Phone 7 is unclear. Also unclear is the actual sales numbers, which both Microsoft and Verizon are keeping close to the vest. One rumor was that the Kin series only sold 500 units -- a speculation that Microsoft neither confirmed nor denied.
A good indication that the phone series was in trouble was the price cut by Verizon and other retailers within the first three weeks of launch. The Kin Two dropped from $100 to $50, and the Kin One, originally priced at $50, was available through Amazon for only a penny.
One glaring problem that could have lead to the ultimate demise of the teen-friendly line of phones was the data plan price. Minimum price-per-month through Verizon put the phone's data and talk plan at $70 -- a price comparable to the minimum cost of iPhone's data plan. However, unlike the iPhone, the Kin One and Two were not smartphones and lacked many of the features found standard on similarly-priced phones.
Industry analysts are also speculating that the Kin could have been doomed, in part, by the team responsible for its creation. The phones' development was helmed by team Danger, a group responsible for the T-Mobile Sidekick. The group was thrown in the spotlight late last year when their Danger network encountered a flaw that lost Sidekick users' data being stored on Microsoft servers.
Some reviews also pointed out the fact that, for a device focused squarely on social networking, seamless integration with Twitter and Facebook did not work properly.
While the Kin marks another stumble for Microsoft in the mobile phone market, the company will once again try to break into the field later this year with devices running Windows Phone 7 OS.