Wow, gone already? That's surely the case, as Microsoft
has suddenly and abruptly pulled the plug on their short-lived KIN efforts
. It's easily one of the shortest phone lifespans in the history of mobile phones, with only the Palm Foleo coming to mind as something that lived for an even shorter period of time. But the difference here is that Microsoft actually devoted time, money and effort to marketing the KIN lineup and getting it onto Verizon's airwaves; just a few weeks after first launching (and a few days after the KIN line took to a sharp price drop), KIN as we know it is dead.
The cancellation is sudden, but most agree, not shocking. KIN was a strange play from the start; rather than pushing Windows Phone 7, Microsoft's forthcoming OS meant to rival Android and iOS, the company hoped to push a trimmed-down version to tweens and teens who loved to text and network. But the main problem is that every smartphone out right now is also good at texting and social networking, and the $30/month data plan attached to both KIN devices is the exact same as the one attached to every BlackBerry
phone currently on Verizon. There was basically no value in buying a featurephone with a $30/month data plan when you could get a smartphone for the same amount of money.
Yesterday, Microsoft revealed that the KIN wouldn't ship to Europe in the Fall as planned, and that the "internal team working on the KIN phones would be combined with the group working on Microsoft's forthcoming Windows Phone 7 software." The company is planning to continue selling KIN phones in America while supplies last, but we doubt there will be too many takers at this point. Microsoft's official statement on the death of KIN is below, but sadly we doubt too many people will be shedding tears after reading it. Now, we're just hoping that Windows Phone 7 can live up to its own billing.
"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."