Ding dong, the Microsoft Kin is dead

Engadget is reporting that the Kin is dead, even though the device was only released a few short months ago, and is still receiving updates.

Sources close to Microsoft have told Engadget that Andy Lees, Senior Vice President of Microsoft's Mobile Communications Business, has merged the Kin into the Windows Phone 7 team. They have also cancelled the Kin's Europe launch, which was scheduled for later this year, because sales weren't as strong as expected.

Microsoft released a press statement today saying that:

"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 Kin was only known by it's codename, "Project Pink", until a few months ago when it was unveiled at a press event in April of this year. The device is based on the Windows Phone 7 framework, and was aimed at teens and young adults in their early twenties, but failed to gain traction amongst users in the US after launch - it received only mediocre reviews, and was only available on select plans which were unpopular because they were expensive.

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Good news IMO, any company which attempts to develop hardware and software is taking on a huge task, and as with Apple's latest phone can fail spectacularly as there's so much qulity testing to do. I think the same model as with Windows will be better - let hardware specialists make the best hardware and leave MS to what they do best, and make the best software.

UKer said,
Good news IMO, any company which attempts to develop hardware and software is taking on a huge task, and as with Apple's latest phone can fail spectacularly as there's so much qulity testing to do. I think the same model as with Windows will be better - let hardware specialists make the best hardware and leave MS to what they do best, and make the best software.

I agree on the fact that Microsoft should maintain their focus on software. While we're at, they should kill off the Zune as well, given that it's been an epic fail compared to even Creative and SanDisk's MP3 players.

However, I disagree about the iPhone being a failure. Having one myself (the 3G version), I found it to be very good, although iOS 4 has made it a bit sluggish.

MulletRobZ said,

I agree on the fact that Microsoft should maintain their focus on software. While we're at, they should kill off the Zune as well, given that it's been an epic fail compared to even Creative and SanDisk's MP3 players.

However, I disagree about the iPhone being a failure. Having one myself (the 3G version), I found it to be very good, although iOS 4 has made it a bit sluggish.

Totally, the previous iPhones were undoubtedly a success in every way, just the latest shows that quality assurance can't be easily achieved when developing H+S/ware.

great, a bigger focus on Windows Phone 7 ( a bigger developer team) this might explain why microsoft added more developers to make WP7 apps for #ineedthisapp
Looks good

All this talk about the data plans being why it failed (while admitting that other smartphones that require data plans that are no cheaper, and while those handsets are more expensive, they are more attractive to teens and tweens) is a great big coverup of one reality (that I pointed out in the previous KIN-related newspiece) - the target market is shallow. Price is irrelevant (if it were, KIN would sell), and features are also pretty much irrelevant (same reasoning). It's about looks and coolness (not features or price). However, do you admit that? Oh, no; that would make you shallow.

Requiring a smartphone data plan on a less than smart phone targeted at teens was a dumb idea from the start. Its almost sad that a week after I started hearing advertisements on the radio for the Kin its already dead. Someone didn't do their homework.

They probably would have saved money by hiring me (college student) to design the KIN. I'm assuming that even if they paid me a fraction of what they paid the team, it would still be a lot and the end product couldn't be any worse than what they came up with.

LukeEDay said,
Why bother with an ugly phone like that when you have Blackberry, Droid and iPhone ...

Droid and iPhone are *more*, not less, expensive than KIN (before the price cuts), and the only Blackberry from RIM that would compete (the Storm2) costs no less after the discounts, and the data plan prices are identical.

So, in short, you're saying it's the looks (not price)?

Sometimes I think people don't understand that companies as large as Microsoft learn more from creating a failed product to learn from those failures and bring forward those successes to the key products they are actually aiming for. Never underestimate their abilities. They aren't around because they are not innovating.

I agree with some of the people that Verizon was not a good target due to their pricing structure. They were too expensive for the social networking teens.

A hiccup. You would think though that the "focus group" they used to create the damn thing would have MENTIONED to someone that they couldn't comment on peoples facebook status... etc. etc. etc.

I think we are starting to see a trend here. Microsoft is becoming more and more irrelevant as people migrate, slowly, to competing products. They will just have to step it up if they want to compete; it's not just about Windows anymore, Apple learned that.

This is what happens when you underestimate your objective market or you don't ask to your clients about a product before develop and launch it.

Jolo said,
This is what happens when you underestimate your objective market or you don't ask to your clients about a product before develop and launch it.

What really hurt was the smartphone data rates on a carrier that is offering BOGOF on most of its smartphones

Well, it was expensive at launch. It should've launched with what the prices are now. If Verizon also had cheaper data plans for this phone, it would've helped.

I just wish they turned the Zune HD into a phone, the form factor and styling are perfect. MS just needs to focus on WP7, they have a lot of ground to make up with Android and iOS

I think it would have worked if Microsoft could have negotiated a better data plan rate with Verizon. My understanding, however, is that the KIN phones are very data hungry devices and so Verizon would have never gone for that.

I'm not sure Microsoft is correct in their assessment of a market between Cell Phones and Smart Phones. I think that it is more the case that people are going to want more from their Cell Phones but at the same rates.

I think that the KIN would have sold a lot better if the data plan was completely optional. The data would still work fine if WiFi were available. This would have made it more attractive to parents, I think.

But as it stands now, the KIN is more crippled and locked down than an iPhone yet has the same monthly plan rate. This doomed it from the start. That, and it is ugly as sin.

Python96 said,
Im GLAD, all i have to say is EPIC FAIL.. Almost as bad as the IPHONE 4

I always got annoyed at the kin commercials "This is Kendra.. she's going on a journey to visit her social network.."

Really?

Sonic. said,

I always got annoyed at the kin commercials "This is Kendra.. she's going on a journey to visit her social network.."

Really?


So, for the total 500 some odd people that wish to go on a journey to visit his or her social network, this was perfect. For the rest of us, it's a waste of time. Maybe in the future, if we get that dependent on social networks, this might have come in handy.

satukoro said,
So, for the total 500 some odd people that wish to go on a journey to visit his or her social network, this was perfect. For the rest of us, it's a waste of time. Maybe in the future, if we get that dependent on social networks, this might have come in handy.
All this shows is that you weren't the target market. Huge numbers of teens are obsessed with social networks.

joemailey said,
Well 99% of people predicted the Kin would fail. I guess we was right. Stupid idea and a waste of time.
A lot of people have said the software was very impressive. That is not wasteful, because the stuff they learned from that (and, hell, the code) can be reused and refined further.

Kirkburn said,
A lot of people have said the software was very impressive. That is not wasteful, because the stuff they learned from that (and, hell, the code) can be reused and refined further.
The phone was miserable to use, not intuitive at all. The UI in concept is interesting. Execution is questionable though.

joemailey said,
Well 99% of people predicted the Kin would fail. I guess we was right. Stupid idea and a waste of time.

According to recent scientific studies, 87.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot, and 92% of all Neowin users agree that your statistic falls under that.

MindTrickz said,

According to recent scientific studies, 87.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot, and 92% of all Neowin users agree that your statistic falls under that.

I 100% agree! LOL

tsupersonic said,
The phone was miserable to use, not intuitive at all. The UI in concept is interesting. Execution is questionable though.

Right, the ideas were impressive, not the actual software executed

I'm starting to think that the only reason that KIN even existed was because MS wanted to make something back on an otherwise idiotic $500 million purchase of Danger

lordcanti86 said,
I'm starting to think that the only reason that KIN even existed was because MS wanted to make something back on an otherwise idiotic $500 million purchase of Danger

Paying $500 million without ownership of the Sidekick brand was a total waste. I really don't know what they got out of it other than some IP which MS could have easily developed themselves. If the concept of synching phone data with the cloud is a patentable idea that MS now owns, then I can see the value. If not, it was money flushed down the toilet.

bj55555 said,

Paying $500 million without ownership of the Sidekick brand was a total waste. I really don't know what they got out of it other than some IP which MS could have easily developed themselves. If the concept of synching phone data with the cloud is a patentable idea that MS now owns, then I can see the value. If not, it was money flushed down the toilet.


T-Mobile owns the Sidekick brand. That's why MS doesn't have it.

bj55555 said,

Paying $500 million without ownership of the Sidekick brand was a total waste. I really don't know what they got out of it other than some IP which MS could have easily developed themselves. If the concept of synching phone data with the cloud is a patentable idea that MS now owns, then I can see the value. If not, it was money flushed down the toilet.

I can agree with thhis

Am I the only one who saw this coming? It usually doesn't make sense to have different product lines, glad Microsoft has finally realized that.

amon91 said,
Am I the only one who saw this coming? It usually doesn't make sense to have different product lines, glad Microsoft has finally realized that.

Naw, I did too, although I thought it wasn't coming this fast.

amon91 said,
Am I the only one who saw this coming? It usually doesn't make sense to have different product lines, glad Microsoft has finally realized that.

Lol, no I'm pretty sure everyone saw this coming.

techbeck said,
haha, Kin was useless.

Yeah, a terrible phone. Anyone who had any say on that phone should be fired. How could you even think someone is going to buy a crippled phone which you can not install any apps or games, a phone with a terrible web browser, and requires a 70+ USD month data plan? LOL.

andrewbares said,
The Kin Spot was one of the most innovative ideas I've seen in a while. Bring THAT to Windows Phone 7!

Agree! I really hope that Spot will make it into WP7.

vice le von said,
+1, and the Kin Studio too plz. Make it happen!

WP7's version of the Kin Studio is just Windows Live, your profile page + skydrive. All it needs is automatic backup/sync of photos/medias like the Kin has (which it will probably get) and it'd be the same +more.

GP007 said,

WP7's version of the Kin Studio is just Windows Live, your profile page + skydrive. All it needs is automatic backup/sync of photos/medias like the Kin has (which it will probably get) and it'd be the same +more.

Don't forget the timeline view and RSS feed reader.

+11

GP007 said,

WP7's version of the Kin Studio is just Windows Live, your profile page + skydrive. All it needs is automatic backup/sync of photos/medias like the Kin has (which it will probably get) and it'd be the same +more.

This is incorrect. Windows Mobile 6.5 right now has MyPhone, which has a Windows Live aesthetic but it automatically backs up everything on your phone. Kin Studio is just a prettier, flashy version of MyPhone

I found it completely unnecessary (given that you can have those features on an ACTUAL mobile OS), but I understand how it came to existence...