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Rumor: 500 Kin Phones

symbolset (646467) writes | about 4 years ago

Cellphones 9

When Microsoft's Kin was released a month ago, it came with the usual sequence of tittilating leaks (project Pink), a swell of coverage leading to liveblogging of the release press conference, and an advertising blitz impressive in its scope. Since it's supposed to be a social phone of course it has numerous fansites including Facebook and Twitter. Of course there's a Wikipe

When Microsoft's Kin was released a month ago, it came with the usual sequence of tittilating leaks (project Pink), a swell of coverage leading to liveblogging of the release press conference, and an advertising blitz impressive in its scope. Since it's supposed to be a social phone of course it has numerous fansites including Facebook and Twitter. Of course there's a Wikipedia page where we learn that these phones aren't just a derivation of the SideKick, but a preview of the much anticipated Windows Phone 7:

"Both KIN and Windows Phone 7 share common OS components, software and services. We will seek to align around a single platform for both products as well as consistent hardware specifications."

Today there's a rumor circulating that Microsoft and Verizon have sold a total of 500 phones, of both models. It derives from a single unsourced rumor post on the Silicon Alley Insider blog on the Business Insider website. The news is going viral. Absurd as the idea is, Verizon doesn't give sales numbers and Microsoft is unlikely to comment. Support for the notion that the phone is doing poorly can be seen at Amazon, where the phones selling for $349.99 and $500 initally are now available for $0.01 and $29.99 respectively, and a month after general availability you can still be the first person to review the products.

Even Adrian Kingsley-Hughes at ZDNET is asking the question.

So I'll ask you: Did you buy this phone for yourself? Your kids? As a review item? As a gag gift? Have you ever seen one in the wild? What do you think this means for Windows Phone 7?

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9 comments

Hadn't heard of this phone until today (1)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | about 4 years ago | (#32640008)

Released in April? This is bizarre.

Re:Hadn't heard of this phone until today (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32737184)

As of right now the links to Amazon above, and the links to the product pages from Amazon.com's internal search go to 404 pages. The Kin seems to have been dropped from Amazon.

No Kin Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32640468)

Their advertising campaign runs along the line of "I'm going to look up my old flings" and "I'm going to look up my stalkers". They are not just bad ads, they are CREEPY. I haven't seen one in the wild (and I live in Seattle). Much like the Zune, there is nothing here that's compelling.

Re:No Kin Here (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 4 years ago | (#32643606)

Well at least someone from Seattle has stepped up to review the Kin One on Amazon now. Not yet for the Kin Two. In the meantime the "500 kin phones" meme has gone so viral you can get it in at least seven languages on Google, and some of them are quite clearly automatically transliterated twice to some other language and back. Somebody was criticizing Bing for having a tiny fraction of the link count that Google did - but I looked it up and now Bing shows 11.2M hits for "500 kin phones," which is a win for Bing in a way, I guess. And one of the top links points right back to this page, which is cute.

People are starting to ask if this is a bad omen for Windows Phone 7.

Too late to market? (1)

man_ls (248470) | about 4 years ago | (#32643320)

I think this phone is meeting a need that either doesn't exist or has already passed, and thus is doomed to failure. I'm not quite sure which it is, though. On one hand, it's being marketed as a social networking phone. Except I get the impression it doesn't do anything except Facebook and make phone calls, and I want my expensive smartphone to do a lot more than that, like the Altek Leo phone due out in Q4 2010. http://www.fonearena.com/blog/18927/altek-leo-14mp-camera-with-a-phone-pics-and-price.html [fonearena.com] So the device looks expensive and limited in its capabilities. Plus the social networking functionality is too central to the device for it to be received by a mass audience: adults, with that kind of money, don't generally social network to an extent this phone would be useful to then. Those that do, are few and far between.

So we're pretty well established this isn't an adult phone. It's a phone for teenagers. Engadget came to pretty much the same conclusion, and apparently designed the phone to be marketed to them. Their review mentions poor audio quality, difficulty making calls, and difficulty using pretty much all of the features it offers. So it's a device that is a poor phone, marketed to a very specific younger consumer class.

One problem: teenagers don't buy expensive phones. Their parents might, but what parent is going to buy one of these things? Furthermore, what kid is going to want one?

Microsoft has sorely missed the mark with these phones. I'm not sure what they were trying to accomplish, in fact, since I can't see any evidence of a single unified design philosophy or even that their design team understood their target market or the principles of design that have made other phones successful. If the rumor about only selling a total of 500 phones is true, I wouldn't be incredibly surprised: I got some hands-on time with the phones at a demonstration booth, and was left shaking my head from the whole experience (and with a printed copy of my Facebook profile on a fancy piece of paper, for some reason.) With such an unclear vision and the phone's price and feature set being at odds with how people actually buy and use phones, I can't see it possibly succeeding. I'd have rather seen the resources put into making this, go into making Windows Mobile 7 be absolutely AWESOME.

Oh, wow. (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 4 years ago | (#32643954)

This feeble little /. journal article has now been found by some aggregators like uberview [ubervu.com] and Reddit. Probably due to the fluke of being randomly assigned the short URL "chaos" on Reddit, it now has 246 comments [reddit.com] . It's getting spread all over Twitter.

Goodness, there's an awful lot of interest in this weak rumor.

Re:Oh, wow. (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 4 years ago | (#32644090)

Make that: reddit.com/chaos [reddit.com] .

Story is picking up steam now (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 4 years ago | (#32647016)

Seattle Weekly [seattleweekly.com]

Yahoo! Tech [yahoo.com] (links back here)

A bunch of other places now. You can still be the first to review the Kin Two on Amazon.

And... Kin is dead (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 4 years ago | (#32752478)

Kin is dead [cnet.com] . There's not much else to say.

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