Just a couple of months out of the gate, and Microsoft has killed it’s KIN line of no-so smart phones, before they even had a chance to get outside the US.
This isn’t surprising on a number of levels. While the phones were well-spec’ed, with an interesting take on the UI, the target of younger social-media centric types (read: teens) were probably not ready to shell out real smartphone monthly fees. Not many teens (or their parents) were interested in paying $70 a month for a phone. The launch of the Kin was also somewhat confusing, as while rumoured for over a year, the release shortly after the announcement of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 coming in the fall left many scratching their heads.
Given the recent shake ups in Microsoft’s consumer strategies, and the exit of top brass such as J Allard and Robbie Bach from the more consumer facing divisions, it seems that Kin is part of the culling and refocusing. The way I see it, if Microsoft hopes to prevent such an ignoble fate for Windows Phone 7, they’ll need to make it their only focus in the mobile space, and leave tablet and slate devices up to their hardware partners. They’ll also need to ensure an international launch, and the opening of more Zune services to countries where the phones will be available.
Honestly, Microsoft was probably right to knife this baby. If there’s one thing that survives from the Kin fiasco, I hope it’s the Kin Studio, a backup and storage solution which allows access to all your phone content via an excellent web interface. It’s safe to say that the rumour if Kin hitting Fido is dead.
You can see the Kin Studio in action after the break.