Microsoft’s Kin Is Dead Already

Even opponents of Microsoft could not have predicted it would happen this quickly, but their Kin smartphone is already dead. Microsoft announced yesterday that it is killing both the Kin One and Kin Two. After only two months of sales, the software giant has halted production on the phone and will not ship it to Europe, as was planned.

Microsoft and Verizon did not release actual sales numbers, but estimates put the sales above 1,000 but far less than 10,000, a drop in the pond compared to many of the top-selling smartphones.

Critics of the device believe Microsoft should not be surprised. Although it was labeled a smartphone, it had very few of the features that smartphone users have come to expect (especially in the app department). The marketing was primarily geared toward texting, Twitter, and Facebook users, most of whom can already do all three with their current phones (even ones that are not priced as smartphones).

Their advertising audience, made up primarily of teen girls, were apparently not swayed by the commercials or blatant product placement in shows like ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars. Being shaped like a black makeup compact did not make it cool. It just made it seem like Microsoft was trying a little too hard.

Verizon will likely continue to ship and support the Kin until the shelves are bare and the device is little more than an Ebay trinket to be stored in time capsules, when people will look back on 2010 and laugh.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has shifted their attention to the Windows Phone 7.  The loss will have little consequence on Microsoft’s empire, so they still may have the last laugh.  The only ones truly left crying are the handful of teenage girls who bought the Kin thinking they would finally sit at the cool table.

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I am a librarian with 8 years of experience in information architecture, technology, free and open source software, and electronic publishing. I have written hundreds of articles on topics ranging from information technology to politics. I also write fiction novels, short stories, and fables.

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