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The Return of the Microsoft Kin

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the if-at-first-you-really-really-don't-succeed dept.

Microsoft 92

symbolset writes "In a surprising turn of events, Engadget is reporting that the Microsoft Kin One and Kin Two will have an encore in the market. Some years ago Microsoft purchased Danger, Inc, services provider for the legendary Sidekick line of phones, and set upon refreshing them for a new generation in 'Project Pink.' Several project restarts and one data loss incident later, the project had lost favor internally and relations with the launch carrier Verizon had gone sour. The product was launched anyway to dismal sales and yanked from the market in under two months. According to the article, the costly data plan was thought to be to blame for the poor sales, so cellular data services and features that require them have been removed."

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Easy first post (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34209298)

As nobody cares...

Re:Easy first post (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34209518)

No no no! I am so tired of you peanut gallery punks talking smack about the Kin phones.

You Microsoft haters are all the same. I've said it before, if you aren't the target market for the Kin, then you can't help but not to "get it". The Kin phones are for the always connected consumer to stay in the loop with all of their friends both online and off. It is an always on stream of social information for people that don't want to live their actual lives not live on their phones. Just face it, if you're too old to grok what that means for you, then just move on instead of criticizing something you are not equipped to ever understand.

Re:Easy first post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34209636)

The Kin phones are for the always connected consumer to stay in the loop with all of their friends both online and off. It is an always on stream of social information for people that don't want to live their actual lives not live on their phones. .

I don't comprehend these two statements together. Can you explain it to me? If you're "always connected" and addicted to a continuous stream of social information, aren't you already fucked? I mean, the statement "not live on their phones" just doesn't make sense here.

Re:Easy first post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34209916)

Quite the contrary, it means you NEVER get fucked

Re:Easy first post (2, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209640)

Wow, that sounds so hip, edgy, and refreshingly real!

Re:Easy first post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34211010)

Hey blowhard, i'm part of that target audience, you are talking about, and even I don't give a rats ass about the Kin.

Re:Easy first post (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211516)

So you're saying the Kin was/is for those who want always on connectivity and spend lots of time in/on social networking apps and texting? They you must mean it's for those people Microsoft is currently making fun of in their Windows Phone 7 ads.

Will they start doing ads dis-ing those who get on and off their phones quickly in the Kin v2 ads?

I can't wait to Tivo through those ads also.

LoB

Re:Easy first post (1)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211718)

Actually, I just "don't get" how they could do it so badly. It's a great commercial idea, it should have sold to Facebook addicts in the hundreds of millions at least.

They better be renaming it (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209310)

Keeping the "Kin" name would kill this before it even starts. It carries such a strong negative connotation with it that they would be likely to sell any units...perception is everything when it comes to the mobile space.

Re:They better be renaming it (3, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209378)

With who, techies? With the general public, I'd bet 95%+ have never heard of the thing and thus have no opinion in either direction.

Re:They better be renaming it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34209568)

If the general public "bings it", there's a screenful of articles dissecting why it failed due to Microsoft's incompetence in data integrity. Which should be enough to form an opinion for the Average Joe.

http://www.bing.com/search?q=microsoft+kin&go=&form=QBRE&qs=n&sk=&sc=8-13 [bing.com]

Re:They better be renaming it (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209598)

With the general public yes, even though they've never heard of the phone. It might be popular with hillbillies I guess. "Yall" would be a better name.

Re:They better be renaming it (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209980)

Agreed. What surprised me was the fact that they ditched the Sidekick branding to begin with. Even after the data loss incident, that phone has massive positive name recognition, so I can't see why they on earth they would stop using it. Then again everything about how they handled the Danger acquisition has been incompetent.

Re:They better be renaming it (3, Insightful)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210408)

They haven't stopped the incompetence - this is the same KIN phone, stripped of the data features.

So basically you have a phone that can use Zune pass to listen to music if there's Wifi around.

Smells like a warehouse full of unsold KINs that need to ship before they get the Pac Man/Atari 2600 treatment

Re:They better be renaming it (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209432)

Considering the "Zune 2", it's not likely they'll bother rebranding it and distance themselves from the previous failure.

Re:They better be renaming it (2, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210730)

Actually, there was no reason to rename the Zune. It was only a failure in the commercial sense. The hardware and concept were actually quite good. While I only know two people who own them, both were quite pleased and from what I could see of it the device worked well.

With the Kin, I think the biggest problem was that they were aiming it at a market which doesn't exist and they gave up before it did. The way that Apple came to be so closely linked to portable music is that they waited until the market formed, then ripped off the interface from Creative, slapped on a different input scheme and made it white. After that it was marketing from there on out.

Re:They better be renaming it (2, Interesting)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209720)

They will release it as the "Kin ect" (with "ect" being an acronym for "Enhanced Cellular Technology") and add some functionality that allows you to sync it with your Xbox.

Then they'll count Kin sales for both the mobile and console peripheral markets.

Re:They better be renaming it (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210368)

Yep, a rename is in order since they have only sold a few Kin phones.

Wait, that's it! The "Few-Kin Phone".

On one hand It's self deprecating, and on the other it's the phone for people with little to no family ties.

Really?? (4, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209318)

I can't possibly understand this. Anyone with half a brain who picked up a Kin phone could see that the things were atrocious. It was like some 70 year old engineer decided he was going to make a phone that was all hip and "did all that music stuff the young kids like". Totally out of touch with the market and any sane school of thought regarding a UI.

Oh well though. If Microsoft feeling like flushing EVEN MORE money down the drain, then who am I to stop them.

Re:Really?? (-1, Flamebait)

imthesponge (621107) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209448)

That strategy seems to do well enough for Apple.

Re:Really?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34209642)

And yet they outsell all your favorite crap 80 to 1.

funny that.

Re:Really?? (5, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209724)

It works, but it's not the same strategy. Personally, I'm not a fan of Apple's stuff because I don't like the lockdowns. The stark reality though is that MOST of the populace doesn't care about that at all.

What Apple DOES deliver is a very GOOD user experience and UI. It's within their little "walled garden" and you're restricted in what you can do, but within those walls, the garden pretty much kicks ass.

I'm not even sure what level of restrictions MS put on these phones - I never cared enough to check into it (my wager though, being MS, is that they were pretty locked down). I can honestly say though that the UI sucked.

Or translated into fantasies:

Apple's iOS is like that beautiful dominatrix. Controlling, manipulative, and demeaning. An almost supernatural beauty though, and looks darned good in a corset, making it hard to resist.

Android is like the sweet girl next door. She looks good in a more subdued way. Less makeup. She'll let you do try anything in the sack, but her own skills aren't as polished as you'd like. She also has a bad habit of gossiping about your private details with your friends.

MS Kin is like a 60 year old fat dominatrix. Not much going on there, and just trying to play the game because she heard the young'uns were having fun with it.

While I can respect anyone who chooses options 1 or 2, very few people are going to choose #3.

You *would* go and do that. (1)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209904)

...like that beautiful dominatrix. Controlling, manipulative, and demeaning. An almost supernatural beauty though, and looks darned good in a corset, making it hard to resist.

...like the sweet girl next door. She looks good in a more subdued way. Less makeup. She'll let you do try anything in the sack...

Oh, great. Just great. So much for being able to think about work at all.

Sheesh.

To dig up a little-used movie quote... (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210156)

Margaret Thatcher naked on a cold day! Margaret Thatcher naked on a cold day!

Only half helping (1)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210416)

See, adding in the "on a cold day" bit just makes me think about what cold air does to girl parts, and then I'm just thinking about perky girl parts in general, which leads us right back to not being able to think about work...

Frickem frackem, grimble grumble.

Re:To dig up a little-used movie quote... (1)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211196)

PS -- Your homepage link throws up a 403 error in Japanese, which bafflingly seems to include a copyright notice from Black Entertainment Television, Inc...

Re:Really?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34209938)

While I can respect anyone who chooses options 1 or 2, very few people are going to choose #3.

You would be wrong... [fat-tube.com]

Re:Really?? (4, Funny)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210288)

MS Kin is like a 60 year old fat dominatrix. Not much going on there, and just trying to play the game because she heard the young'uns were having fun with it.

Oh! A perfect match for Balmer!

Re:Really?? (3, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210356)

Envelopers! Envelopers! Envelopers!

Re:Really?? (3, Funny)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210526)

Can you convert that into a car analogy please? This is /. and we don't understand sexual analogies.

Re:Really?? (2, Funny)

notjustchalk (1743368) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210842)

Apple's iOS is like that beautiful dominatrix. Controlling, manipulative, and demeaning.

Steve Jobs is the new John Romero - he doesn't have clients, he has bitches.

Re:Really?? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211300)

Yep. Most iPhone users aren't sitting there thinking "If ONLY I could get a C compiler for it it would be perfect..."

Re:Really?? (2, Informative)

TrancePhreak (576593) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211572)

my wager though, being MS, is that they were pretty locked down

You do know that WinMobile 6.5, which the Kin is based on, was one of the most open phone OS until Android appeared?

Re:Really?? (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 3 years ago | (#34216826)

In a strange sort of way, Microsoft has always been rather open with their stuff. The problem with WinMo isn't that it was closed, the problem was that it just sucked.

I had a WinMo 6.1 phone, and compared to a $20 Samsung phone, it was awesome. But it honestly looked and felt like a comical parody of Microsoft Windows 3.1. It had all the spit and polish of a 200 pound, meth-addicted trailer trash chick in a stained white wife-beater and ripped pajama bottoms. And I just think to myself: Microsoft has enough money in the bank to rival many nations' GDP - and this is the best that they could come up with in the area that they clearly thought was most important for future growth?

It's no wonder that Apple came along and stomped them, and Android is really a rehash of iOS with an open license.

You are right (3, Insightful)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210010)

Because before the iPhone, everyone else was already selling touchscreen smartphones with massive app stores, developers were cashing in on the huge new app market, and people around the world were ditching their feature phones for smartphones.

Re:You are right (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210796)

What apple did was essentially the next logical step forward. The Appstore is really the equivalent of their ITMS which was a success. Touch screens have been coming for sometime. It was ballsy of them to eliminate nearly all the buttons, but the individual components for the iPhone were already there.

It's not really that different from when they introduced their iPod. It was built on other people's work put together in a new way, and ultimately they were successfully sued by Creative for ripping off their IP.

Re:You are right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210890)

Well, if it was so logical then how come the rest of industry didm't do what Apple did? Sounds like I have an idea, but I'm not going to tell anybody.

Re:You are right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34211206)

Somebody has to be the first to do something, no matter how obvious it is.

Re:You are right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34211808)

Palm did, just without all of the lockdown bullshit.

Re:You are right (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211982)

no, in fact it's wasn't logical to do at all. It was a risk, and a very expensive one at that. People complained a lot that it was too much, and people only need a hone, and no one wants all there stuff following them.

Only in hind sight does it seem like th next logical step. and as we all know, hindsight is a lying bitch.

Re:You are right (1)

painandgreed (692585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34212038)

What apple did was essentially the next logical step forward. The Appstore is really the equivalent of their ITMS which was a success. Touch screens have been coming for sometime. It was ballsy of them to eliminate nearly all the buttons, but the individual components for the iPhone were already there.

Yes, all the component parts were there. They had been there for years. It's that none of the other people who had all the component parts for years were ballsy enough to come up with a touchscreen UI that actually worked. Same goes for tablets. MS has been trying for years to sell tablets, but it took Apple to actually make one that sold.

Very similar to USB. My first Fujitsu WIndows laptop had a USB port on it. I and the other techs I work with had to go online to figure out what it was. This was 1997 IIRC. It wasn't till Apple put out the iMac with USB that anybody paid attention to it. Face it, if it wasn't for Apple, Windows would probably still be operating on PS2 and parallel ports (not to mention 5 1/4" floppies).

Re:Really?? (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209982)

I think I work with the engineer you mentioned. Just last month he was telling me about the joys of writing his own socket code and XML parsing code to talk to that new-fangled web service thing over there. It was silly that it used such a verbose messaging protocol but whatever.

Re:Really?? (2, Funny)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210076)

Until I while back, I had a similiar experience with an older coworker (he's retired now).

Nicest guy in the world, and he was bright, but just from a different time.

He lived by printouts. I ask him for the source code for an old COBOL program to recode. Do I get it in a nice text file? Nope. Printout sitting on my desk.

Found a problem with a specific account that wasn't behaving properly. Do I get an email about it? Nope. Hand-written note left sitting in my chair.

I ask for a simple report. Is it in some simple format that I can export, search through, etc? Of course not. It's left sitting on my desk as a giant stack of dot-matrix tractor-feed paper. I don't even know where the hell he was keeping that damned printer. I don't know where we have a dot-matrix printer anywhere in the department, yet, he always had that dot-matrix printout to hand over.

Like I said, he was one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, but it did get frustrating when my desk started to swim in stacks and stacks of paper - almost none of which I had printed myself.

Re:Really?? (2, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34212008)

If he is like many of the old Cobol people I work with, he was screwing with you.

SOme of themare the most tech savey people, and the intentional screw with people in this manner.

I worked ehre two weeks, and in a dev. meeting one I asked for some source code, and they pulled out a huge ream of paper.

and I said: "Don't pull that crap with me, I know you can easily get it digitally. I'm not some noob."

They all laughed, and 2 minutes after the meeting I had a link to the source codes location.

Re:Really?? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#34226446)

Nah. You'd have to really know this guy to understand him. Worked with him for 5 years. He was good at what he did - just absent minded and old fashioned. I often WOULD ask him to get it digitally and then he would do so, but it was a matter of reminding him much of the time. "Digital copy" just didn't flip into his brain when somebody asked for something. It was more a case of "Ok, I'll print you a copy" being the first thing that jumped into his head.

Re:Really?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210446)

Having never used a Kin, I don't know what the UI is like, but I have to admit that I really like the physical appearance of the Kin 1. I'd probably pick one up to play with if they sold unlocked GSM versions.

Re:Really?? (3, Interesting)

lmcgeoch (1298209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211168)

What I would like to see is a smart phone made for a baby boomer?
I don't mean a jitterbug but an actual phone with a keyboard big enough so they can see and use them so they can text their friends and go on the internet.
Not all older people are non tech savy (my parents for instance, it easier to text them then to call them.) and they have more money to spend on gadgets then a 15 year old. Why doesn't the 70 year old engineer make something he would like to use and go from there?

This is a completely untapped market...well except for the jitterbug.

Competition (3, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209352)

Amazing how Microsoft can release multiple devices that partly compete against each other... you could see someone considering a WP7 phone for the social aspects, then saying "well the Kin is cheaper, and I can do some social things on it so good enough."

Re:Competition (2, Funny)

pantheonwhaley (1933610) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209482)

It's time for a phone to save us from our Kin.

Re:Competition (2, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209666)

If you want a WP7 or Kin2.5 or whatever, get a Nokia smartphone and get better for less money.

Honestly, Nokia phones rock if you get pas the clunky interface. and they all have far better "phone" capabilities than the iPhone and all Android phones. it's like they made it a phone first and toy second.

I use an iphone simply because of the apps I need are on it. Otherwise I would have a nokia.

Re:Competition (1)

trcooper (18794) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209994)

I think it's a different segment of the market that is being targeted by this. I think it's a shrinking market though. When the Kin was first released there were a lot more people still opting for the mid-range 'media phone' type devices. Making you use pay for the same data plan that you would for an Android phone however doomed it. There was honestly no reason to look at one of these over the slew of android phones verizon released over the past year, simply because of the recurring costs vs. features that you lose.

Now if these are able to be on plans in the sub $50 range, there might be a market for them if they haven't been dumbed down much further. However, I think a lot of people who were potential buyers have overcome the sticker shock of the data plan. You aren't going to get those people to step back in most cases. Zune pass is nice, but I can do Rhapsody on Android or have the Zune pass on a WP7 device. It's got to have more than that in it, at least a nice facebook/twitter interface and the ability to get email without tacking on an extra fee.

When I had an LG Env2, I could do a lot of what I can today with facebook/twitter or email using either apps or a browser, but it was a bad experience. With my incredible these are either baked in nicely or there are great apps readily available that integrate into the phone well and provide an excellent user experience. A device that does these functions well might still have appeal to people who haven't had a true smart phone yet, but I don't see anyone going backwards, even if they can save 20-30 bucks a month.

I don't think this competes directly with WP7, but it's more of an attempt to grab what's left of the low end market that no one is focusing on anymore. Not necessarily a bad move, but it's a market that's shrinking and probably won't exist 5 years from now.

Still steals market... (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210192)

I don't think this competes directly with WP7, but it's more of an attempt to grab what's left of the low end market that no one is focusing on anymore. Not necessarily a bad move, but it's a market that's shrinking and probably won't exist 5 years from now.

In that regard is is stealing market from WP7, even if there were no overlap (I still think there is some although it's not even 50%). Because Microsoft should be trying to shrink down that five year window which helps push more people into using WP7 - I read some other commentary on the device that Microsoft may not be trying to take a bunch of market away from Android or the iPhone, as they are trying to convince a ton of users not yet in the smartphone market to go with WP7 as the initial choice. So every Kin sale is kind of a last opportunity to convert a new user into the WP7 family, and the way they are marketing WP7 they seem to be targeting really similar uses (check social media, done).

Let's hope they learned (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209366)

If poor sales didn't kill the sidekick, losing all their customer data due to a server loss certainly finished them off. Whose brilliant idea was it to have no backup redundancies and to destroy client-side copies through a launch synch feature that gleefully "copied" empty directories to the user's phones?

Re:Let's hope they learned (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34209648)

IIRC Microsoft hired dweebs to update the databases who decided to save time and money by not doing backups first. Then middle management panicked and brought the databases back on-line despite the fact most were now empty. All of the permanent damage was done by the panic of middle management. By the time they found the scheduled backups and did a restore there was a dual-master database synch problem. The unique (row?) ids used for identifying records were now duplicated. Chaos ensued.

The first anniversary of purchase having passed there were almost no senior engineers left onboard. The senior engineers gave Roz Ho a chance and worked to their first year retention, but Kin development management was so screwed that they bailed despite their massive second year retention bonuses. You should have heard the disbelief around the campus when all these senior people bailed without lining up new jobs first. It was that bad. MSFT has only the most token version control, no modularity, absolutely clueless about basic design issues (unlike mp3 players, phone sounds need to overlay each other, etc.) , constantly thrashing from one half-functional never to be delivered Windows OS to another. Zune, Kin don't use actual MSFT OSes, they use heavily munged old forks, which you would think would be a sign to MSFT that everything about their phone OSes sux. but no.

Rozzie thought she could just dump Danger's in-progress new sidekick contract with T-mobile and put all the engineers on Kin, but of course that didn't work. Complete screw up, no due diligence, I'm sure everyone involved got promoted, that's how the world works.

anonymous for good reason

Re:Let's hope they learned (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210190)

Thanks for the insight...here's to hoping you didn't post them while at work :p

Re:Let's hope they learned (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34216380)

Danger/Sidekick is a perfect example for one of my sig lines:

Cloud computing - if your data is stored in the Cloud, what happens when it rains?

HAHHAHAHHAHAHHAH!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34209374)

Kin is what you get from inbreeding!!

Plan B after WinPhone 7 bombed? (1)

phonewebcam (446772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209410)

Not good [computerworld.com]

Re:Plan B after WinPhone 7 bombed? (2, Informative)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209646)

Not good [computerworld.com]

Read your link. It's mostly anecdotes about how hard it is to buy one of these phones because of how quickly they sold out despite ugly store displays without working examples.

Re:Plan B after WinPhone 7 bombed? (2, Interesting)

KarmaMB84 (743001) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209814)

There's a supply shortage. None of the manufacturers shipped enough devices to meet demand. It's a good thing it was a Monday launch instead of Friday or Saturday. People might have actually been lined up just to get super pissed they couldn't buy a phone.

Re:Plan B after WinPhone 7 bombed? (2, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210286)

God damn it's hilarious when some jackhole declares a product a failure after a week or two. Moron.

Re:Plan B after WinPhone 7 bombed? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210848)

Indeed. Just look at the console market new, versus when just after the latest round of consoles were released. It looked very different, but somehow, the Wii, XBox 360 and PS3 are all still around and doing fine.

True: Kin Users Are Amazingly Similar To (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34209440)

Kiln People [wikipedia.org] , otherwise known in Rushbo Limbaugh circles as dittoheads ( read morons).

Yours In Electogorsk,
Kilgore T.

And now.. (1)

vluhd (1916658) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209480)

So the phone is being re-released, sans any sort of internet connectivity, thereby killing 95% of the gimmick. Good move Vicrosoft. I'm sure sales will skyrocket now.

Deflating the Kin (2, Interesting)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209486)

so cellular data services and features that require them have been removed.

Then the article closes with:

Seriously, who wants a Kin without the unlimited photo uploads?

I thought the entire point of the Kin was that you could connect to social networking services from anywhere. Removing that ability cripples the phone. But let us suppose that they aer right: buyers want to save money by only using those features when they are connected to WiFi. So be it - no hardware or software changes are required to do that.

Seems to me that a better option would be to take the Kin functionality and sell a Kin app for Windows 7. Or bundle it. But as the article points out, this may just be a way to unload the hardware backlog.

Re:Deflating the Kin (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209604)

Hardware backlog unloading seems like the most plausible cause.

Having already been manufactured and shipped, virtually any amount of money made on these things(either in direct sale prices or in plan attaches) is better than the alternative of just scrapping them. Since they were designed to be 'better-than-feature-phones' they should be able to curb-stomp your basic shit feature phone if sold at roughly similar prices, and with roughly similar plans. They are better than feature phones, just not as good as the real smartphones they were pitted against.

Re:Deflating the Kin (1)

BLToday (1777712) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209722)

When I played with one at the Microsoft store, it was slow... seriously lagging, think iTunes slow. One thing I love about featurephone is that they're fast.

Re:Deflating the Kin (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211524)

I suspected that the exorbitant charges that Verizon levied on a phone targeted towards young adults who no longer had access to parents money and did not likely yet have a lucrative job was a big part of the problem. Sure it was a good idea but for someone who had $500 of expendable income a month it would be a stretch.

The question now is what can a gutted kin do that a phone from Walmart or cricket cannot. In the later an Android phone and year of unlimited service can be had for around $1K, which is better than anything MS can put together. Unless MS is target the rural teen crowd, I can't see how it will work.

Re:Deflating the Kin (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211932)

WP7 is very much a "social network from anywhere" device. Quite a lot of the Kin's features, including most of those best suited to a smartphone-like data paln, are in WP7.

Kin* (2, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209584)

Between the Kinect and the Kindle, do we really need any more Kin* product names?

Re:Kin* (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209942)

The names were probably better before Microsoft acquired Danger, Inc. Hiptop & Sidekick are slightly better than "KIN". I suppose. Whatever.

Re:Kin* (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210358)

Could be better. I can think of a very large, untapped market (so to speak):

KinK

Could fly....

Re:Kin* (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210866)

Yeah, but do you have any idea how quickly batteries die when attached to nipple shock clips?

Re:Kin* (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211302)

Yeah, but do you have any idea how quickly batteries die when attached to nipple shock clips?

Actually, no, I do not....

Re:Kin* (1)

Bitmanhome (254112) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210280)

There aren't very many left. Kindows, Kinko's, Kindergarten, Kinematic. And, um, Kincrosoft.

Re:Kin* (1)

CyberKnet (184349) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210414)

iThink there is room in the market.

iCould be wrong though...

Re:Kin* (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210518)

I think you mean do we need any more f'kin product names?

Re:Kin* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210824)

It's a 'KinOrrible name...

Shome Short of Khinshpirashe. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34209600)

Thish Kin shing ish a Khinshpirashy.

They probably have 250,000 of them in a warehouse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34209662)

And would like to get rid of them without just burning it down.

I didn't know that it was April already. (1)

BLToday (1777712) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209674)

so now it's a feature-phone without the important data-centric applications. !?!?

It's spelled 'Kin (4, Funny)

Vainglorious Coward (267452) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209934)

I wonder whether Microsoft's 'kin phones will be any better than their 'kin operating systems or 'kin applications. Un 'kin likely.

Sadly no mod points today... (1)

NiteShaed (315799) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210894)

but thanks for the laugh :)

April 1st? No, try October 31st (1)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209968)

This is a zombie story.

US data plans cost too much for this to work (3, Informative)

drunkenoafoffofb3ta (1262668) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209974)

In the UK, PAYG phones are getting data thrown in for free with top-ups. The equivalent of ~$16/month in top-ups will get you unlimited internets + some reasonable amount of mins and texts to go with some reasonably inexpensive but good smartphones, like the Sony X10 mini. If that sort of pricing went down in the US, this phone would have a chance. I thought it was quite nifty.

Dumping the hardware (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210014)

They're just trying to get rid of all the unsold hardware they have lying around in warehouses.

Re:Dumping the hardware (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34214328)

OK, it's my TFS and it's not even badly munged. You're way down here it the bottom of the comments, and you seem to be the only one who "gets it". So you get my "informative?" reply.

Microsoft doesn't make their own hardware. They partnered with Sharp [elcoteq.com] to produce the actual equipment. Of couse Sharp jobbed it out to some company we've never heard of, Elcoteq [reuters.com] .

Because Elcoteq is a small, publicly held company that must report significant fiscal events we get to know that the Kins were "more than a third" of their Sharp business, which has a definite figure:

"Elcoteq has already delivered to Sharp the Kin smartphones for the U.S. markets with revenues amounting to more than one-third of the original guidance for Sharp business in 2010," it said in a statement, adding that the total guidance for the Sharp business came to 150 million euros ($183.5 million).

So cost on the Kin hardware was a minimum of $60,000,000. Kudos to MS for being prepared for a runaway hit. A hit isn't Kin though. Even if they shipped 10,000 units so far - far above field estimates - that's $6,000 per unit just for the hardware cost - never mind the advertising which was many times that.

Yeah, I think Verizon can be forgiven for trying to make something of the mush they're holding. It's better than feeding the Kins into a chipper and environmentalizing all that Lithium and other toxic metals.

There are a couple of problems though. In their quarterly statement, Microsoft said that the Kin team was folded into the WP7 team when the product was discontinued. That story doesn't jive with a new version of KinWare that doesn't use Cellular Data communications. That's a significant rewrite. They'll need some people for that. If they did it, then they lied to their investors and the SEC about abandoning Kin. If they didn't do it, then the story about Zombie Kin is a lie, or VZW took ownership of the IP in an unlikely way.

Nothing about what's happening here makes sense.

Microsoft releases world's dumbest smartphone (5, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210242)

Microsoft has unveiled its new Zune One and Zune Two [newstechnica.com] mobile phones for unusually stupid social-networking enthusiasts in their late teens and early twenties with a higher income than their IQ.

Team leader Roz Ho said the company had tried to create a Microsoft gadget that people actually wanted to have, like the XBox 360, but that actually worked properly.

"Get your Friendster and your MySpace!" said Ms Ho. "We studied consumer habits and built the perfect phone for the, uh, 'social generation,'" she air-quoted, "to make it 'fab' and 'bling' — I mean, of course, 'Bing!' — for people too dumb to work an iPhone to share their lives moment to moment."

The handset is of simple design for simple people. The keyboard engages caps lock at random and interjects common "chat" acronyms like "LOL" and "OMG" and "RTFM" should too many words in a row be spelt correctly. A breathalyzer automatically switches on the video camera in the event of excessive alcohol consumption. As well as the usual daily crashes, the Blue Screen of Death can be invoked by the user so as to have a suitable excuse not to answer a text. Later revisions of the phone may include making voice calls.

"We are excited to be the exclusive carrier for this exciting new Microsoft phone in the exciting US," said John Harrobin, Senior Vice President of Paperclip Filing, Morning Drunkenness and Excited Press Release Quotes at Verizon Wireless. "Because we fucking hate you people. We really do."

Roz Ho was previously leader of the Microsoft team that lost all the data on everyone's T-Mobile Sidekick phones last year when the systems team was told not to bother with backups.

Re:Microsoft releases world's dumbest smartphone (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34211078)

[...] unusually stupid social-networking enthusiasts in their late teens and early twenties with a higher income than their IQ.

Frankly, if it weren't, I'd be legitimately worried. So you're saying people with incomes over, oh, let's be generous and say $140 per... um... week? Month? Year? Those are the people with smartphones?

I'm a bit worried about the people whose IQs are HIGHER than their incomes. Worried because they can probably destroy whole cities just with their minds.

Real reason for the failure of Kin Gen 1 (2, Funny)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211408)

The first Kin would have sold incredibly well, but tragically a deal with The Situation to carry on on the "Jersey Shore" fell through when it turned out the various oils he used caused shorts in the keyboard and also the electronics tended to be eaten by a wide variety of biologic organisms living in the hot tub.

Give Courier another go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34210564)

I just wish they'd continue developing the Courier. That thing looked awesome. Looked like it'd kill the iPad on the first day. Too bad.

Leave Kin alone (1)

mhlo (645308) | more than 3 years ago | (#34217092)

Leave Kin alone. Leave it ALONE!
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