Microsoft abandons Kin phones


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Just as quickly as it came, Microsoft is saying goodbye to its Kin line of phones.

The Kin, a pair of Verizon Wireless smartphones aimed at youth, hit store shelves about seven weeks ago, and failed to keep its cool. Kin’s development team will join the mobile group that’s working on the Windows Phone 7 operating system.

So where did Microsoft’s bundles of joy go wrong?

Early on, Microsoft had to pull its Kin promotional campaign after complaints about ‘sexting’ connotations -- not a smart move for a supposedly kid-friendly brand. Reviewers yawned at the software’s mess of social networking tie-ins, while kids continued lusting after universally-acclaimed products such as Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Androids.


Unlike those hype monsters, Kin was missing a key component: apps. Microsoft told the gadget blog Gizmodo that downloadable software would eventually come when the Kin and Windows Phone 7 systems merged. Now, it’s looking like the Kin will simply be forgotten.

“We have made the decision to focus exclusively on Windows Phone 7, and we will not ship Kin in Europe this fall as planned,” Microsoft said in a statement. “We will continue to work with Verizon in the U.S. to sell current Kin phones.”

To exhaust the remaining inventory, Verizon may need to consider a drastic price change. While the Kin One and Kin Two sell for $29.99 and $49.99, respectively, with a two-year contract, the subscription costs are comparable to more fully-featured smartphones.

-- Mark Milian