Ah, Microsoft Kin One and Two…you provided us with plenty of laughs, and many questions about your existence in your short life. When the news broke that the Microsoft Kin One and Two phones were being killed off just a few weeks after the release, few were surprised. The big question that everyone has, however, is why did the product fail?
If you live in the UK, there’s a good chance that you’ve never seen Microsoft’s teen-targeted phone in person; plans to release the device over here were shelved with the cancellation of it in the US. A European release was planned, but seldom greeted with excitement from consumers or analysts.
The good news is that if you’re in the US and, for some reason, want to grab yourself a Kin, you still can though Verizon. Microsoft released a statement saying
“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”
Although expected, the Kin’s failure still makes one wonder why Microsoft took the route that they did. With the re-launch of Windows Mobile in to Windows Phone 7 (at least they decided to take off the ‘series’ part…), it seemed like a strange decision to then launch an entirely separate device with an operating system based on Windows CE.
Originally, the plan for the phone was to base it on Danger’s Sidekick OS, which was insanely popular amongst teenagers in the States. However, after some initial development, it was decided that the device should be based on Microsoft’s own Windows CE operating system. With such a radical shift in development, the project took considerably longer than was first expected. Naturally, Verizon, who were partnering with Microsoft for the launch over in the US, grew impatient at the prolonged development schedule.
You may point out that the Kin was indeed released with Verizon when development was completed, and you’d be right. However, one key factor changed: the price. Any company targeting the teen market know that affordability is crucial in their market plan. Without the low pricing that Verizon were initially going to offer, potential popularity of the device fell significantly and hence why the Microsoft Kin mobile phones have been ditched.
Of course, the fact that the Kin isn’t a great phone is also major contributing factor, but with a better pricing structure, it may have been more of a success than it has been. There may be some good to come out of this whole ordeal though; the Kin’s development team has been moved to assist with Windows Phone 7 development for the time being, which should mean a better mainstream mobile OS for Microsoft in the long run. Whether it will be a runaway success is a big question, but one thing’s for sure: it’s got to outsell the Kin!
Via – Engadget