KIN One and KIN Two making their grand return to Verizon

Remember the KINs? Microsoft’s high-end feature phones/kind-of-smartphones that were killed off only six weeks after being launched are coming back for a second go-round with Verizon, although things have changed slightly since the phones were canned in June. The biggest complaint that people had with the KINs was that they required a full-on, $30/month smartphone data plan, even though Verizon referred to them as “enhanced feature phones” that were targeted at teens. When they are relaunched, possibly as early as this quarter, the KINs will require no data plan whatsoever. This could be good for sales, although it also means that KIN-specific features that require data, like the Loop, have been axed. One big feature of the KINs has remained intact, though: the Zune Pass functionality is still alive on the KINs and can be used over WiFi.

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Kin and Android: A tale of two phones

Why is it that Google thrives in the Internet-connected and mobile world, while Microsoft still can’t find success? A look at the fates of Microsoft’s failed Kin phone and thriving phones based on Google’s Android operating system provides some insight.

Interestingly, the Kin and Android have their roots in technology created by the same person, Andy Rubin. Rubin co-founded a company called Danger, which developed the groundbreaking Sidekick phone. Rubin ended up leaving Danger in 2004. In 2008, Microsoft, looking to jump-start its struggling mobile business, bought Danger for a reported $500 million. The idea was to build a Microsoft phone based on the Sidekick.
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Kin is dead

Less than 2 months after being launched at Verizon Wireless and three months after its unveiling at a San Francisco bar at 10 in the morning, Microsoft Corp. has shut down its Kin initiative.

Published reports indicated that the computer software giant ditched the Kin plan and has instead folded the Kin team into the company’s highly-anticipated Windows Phone 7 platform that it unveiled at this year’s Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, Spain. Rumors spreading around the Internet indicated that the Kin was basically a dud having sold less than 10,000 units since its launch at Verizon Wireless on May 6. For comparison, Apple Inc. recently announced it sold 1.7 million iPhone 4 devices during its first three days of availability.
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Freebies from Microsoft; Early Users Like Kin Phones

The buzz online among the young people the Kin phone is targeting is that they like it. A lot. Plus, there’s an interesting tidbit that the Kin and Windows Phone 7 platforms will merge in the future. In addition to Kin news, this week I’ll point you to a couple of Microsoft’s latest freebies for your phone.

Early Kin Phone Users Say They Like It Read the rest of this entry »

Microsoft Kin Concerts Lead Fans on Merry Chase

Free concerts. Open bar. Big names. Small venues. The catch?

You’ve got to find them first, and only a string of tweets, texts, Facebook updates and blog posts will lead you there.

Microsoft Corp. is combining social media and detective work to market its new Kin cell phone by throwing surprise concerts with bands such as Passion Pit and the Black Keys in four cities this month.
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Microsoft goes after social networkers with Kin line up Verizon Wireless gains exclusivity at launch

Dan Meyer | RCR Wireless News
The “social” generation tallied another victory this morning as computing giant Microsoft Corp. unveiled the latest attempt to infiltrate this narcissist, though apparently dominate, market made up of consumers that need to share everything they are doing, every moment of the day.

The foray involves a pair of devices originally named “Kin One” and “Kin Two” that Microsoft said will run a new operating system developed by some of those involved with Microsoft’s recently announced Windows Phone 7 operating system, but tweaked for a strong social networking focus. The devices have been rumored for some time under the Project Pink codename.
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