Microsoft Kills Kin After 6 Week Debut

Dennis Faas's picture

In a stunning development, Microsoft is preparing to kill off its much-hyped "social-focused" mobile phone, Kin. It follows some poor decisions about how to price the phone given its audience.

The Kin was in development for several years under the codename Project Pink. For much of this time, it was widely speculated the phone would be based around the Zune media player, acting as a direct rival to Apple's iPhone.

Instead, the two handsets, Kin One and Kin Two, were based around social networking updates and the ability to share content like photographs with friends. Unlike most phones today, however, the Kin phones were set-up with all relevant software on-board with no option to add extra applications.

Budget Phone With Premium Service Fees

It was clear that the handsets were designed, both in content and appearance, to appeal to a very young audience. This made it all the more baffling when it emerged that, although the phones were cheap at $49.99 and $99.99, carrier Verizon classified the handsets as smartphones, thus requiring a minimum monthly fee of $70. (Source:

To make things worse, buyers had to hand over an extra $100 at purchase, which was then refunded as a pre-paid debit card that couldn't be exchanged for cash. While that's hardly unusual with smartphones, it made the devices even more unaffordable for many in the target audience.

Early Sales Disappointing

Early sales were clearly disappointing. As a result, the prices were slashed, with the Kin Two down to $49.99 and the Kin One given away without charge. The rebate scheme was ditched.

Unfortunately, the $70 monthly fee remained in place.

"We have made the decision to focus on our Windows Phone 7 launch 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." (Source:

That's being taken to mean that existing stock will be sold off, but it's highly unlikely any more Kins will be manufactured.

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