Feeds

Microsoft's KIN is dead, long live Windows Phone 7

Curse of Zune lives

Application security programs and practises

Microsoft is killing its ill-conceived KIN social network phones, just six weeks after launch. The devices were meant to usher in the next generation of smartphone.

The software giant told The Reg in a statement Wednesday that it no longer plans to launch the KIN in Europe and that it will work with US carrier Verizon to sell any remaining KINs in stock. It's been reported that just 500 KINs have been sold since US availability in May.

Those working on KIN are being moved into Microsoft's Windows 7 Phone team, to incorporate "valuable ideas and technologies from KIN into future Windows Phone releases."

Robbie Bach with next of KIN

Bach next to his Kin at launch

That's exactly the same language Microsoft used when it killed the Zune player and turned it into an online music service – used by, you guessed it, KIN.

Microsoft's KIN kill order was first reported here.

Unveiled in April, the KIN had the shortest lifespan of any product in Microsoft's 35-year history. It was a badly conceived idea and a classic example of Microsoft trying to segment a mass market using somebody else's idea, hoping it could then squeeze out some cheap money and market share.

Microsoft called KIN the "next generation of the social phone". Microsoft said much the same about its doomed Zune player, calling it a driving the next-generation of digital music. Like the KIN, Zune was to achieve this by padding the device with online services – in this case, music services.

Microsoft pitched the KINs as offering online back up with the ability to rank your favorite feeds and social buddies and drag photos around the screen to share them with other people.

What you couldn't do, though, was play Flash-based video, install other applications, or store anything as you had just 8Gb memory.

Meaning the KINs amounted to a device-specifically for texting, Facebooking, Tweeting, and taking photos – things you could do on any other smart phone – but at a premium price.

The KIN ONE and KIN TWO hit retail priced at a whopping $49.99 and $99.99 respectively with Verizon voice plans kicking in at $39.99 a month and separate email and web starting at $29.99. Spending $110 on the cheapest phone and plans locked you into a two-year contract.

Tellingly, Verizon this week slashed the prices for KIN ONE and KIN TWO in half. Before that, Microsoft had to navigate hostile reviews from an underwhelmed geek press, and change its KIN advertising to kill a case of sexting using a KIN phone's camera.

The KIN was the last master work of former entertainment and devices group president Robbie Bach, and while it makes nothing but sense for Microsoft to focus on Windows Phone 7, it's remarkable Microsoft had to re-learn the lesson of the failed Zune that people want only so many online services and actually like a slightly chunky but cool client. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Orange spent weekend spamming customers with TXTs
Zero, not infinity, is the Magic Number customers want
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
NBN Co execs: No FTTN product until 2015
Faster? Not yet. Cheaper? No data
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.