Is Microsoft killing the Kin already?

Summary:There is news coming out that Microsoft may be killing off the Kin and rolling the team into Windows Phone 7. This is understandable given the rather limited enthusiasm for Kin and need to focus efforts to take on the iPhone and Android platforms.

While the idea of a socially connected phone targeted towards the younger "upload generation" sounded like a good idea, the high cost of data, additional Zune services, and actual limited social networking support made the Kin a device that few seem to have embraced. I gave the Kin One and Two to my daughters to use for a week and neither were that enthusiastic about the device. I tried it out, but also did not like the limited social networking functionality and inconsistent user interface. It is a tough sell to convince people to buy a Kin when there are more capable smartphones in the same price range with the same monthly data fees and free streaming music. Thus, it is no real surprise that Gizmodo posted news that the Kin is dead and will not be shipping to Europe or have a team dedicated just to the Kin. CNET also reported that Microsoft made the following official statement:

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 (aka Pink) phones and operating system were under development for years and it is sad that they are going away so quickly after launch. I do think there is some pieces that may be salvaged and rolled into Windows Phone 7, but Microsoft really does need to focus on a single strategy if it hopes to challenge Google Android and Apple iPhone in the smartphone market. It is actually pretty surprising that they made this costly decision so quickly and may actually gain them some favorable points with smartphone enthusiasts who probably prefer they focus rather than drag on with a limited phone platform.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Collaboration, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility, Smartphones, Telcos

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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