|Introductory price||ONE: $50, ONEm: $20, TWO: $100, TWOm: $20 (with contract)|
|Operating system||KIN OS (based on Windows CE)|
|CPU||Freescale i. MX31L processor ARM Core
nVidia Tegra APX 2600
|Storage capacity||ONE: 4 GB, TWO: 8 GB, KIN Studio (unlimited)|
|Memory||256 MB DDR RAM|
|Camera||ONE: 5MP, TWO: 8MP|
|Connectivity||EV-DO Rev, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1|
|Weight||ONE: 3.9 oz (110 g), TWO: 4.7 oz (130 g)|
Kin was a mobile phone from Microsoft, manufactured by Sharp Corporation and sold through Verizon Wireless, designed for users of social networking. Microsoft described the phones' target demographic as men and women between ages 15 and 30.
Microsoft invested two years and about US$1 billion developing the Kin platform. The project began with acquisition of Danger Incorporated, which built the Danger Hiptop/T-Mobile Sidekick. Microsoft described its architecture as mobile devices running a custom operating system as part of a client–server system that is then licenced to mobile carriers. The Kin was based on Windows CE. Kin became part of the Windows Phone family.
On April 12, 2010, Microsoft announced two models, the Kin ONE and the Kin TWO, both available online on May 6, 2010, and in Verizon Wireless stores on May 13, 2010. Within two months, Verizon stopped selling the phone because of poor sales and returned its unsold phones to Microsoft. Microsoft had planned to market the Kin in Europe, through Vodafone, in autumn 2010. Microsoft scrapped its Europe release because of poor U.S. sales. Microsoft stopped promoting the devices and ceased production, and transferred the Kin development team to join its Windows Phone developers. By January 2011, Microsoft shut down the Kin.com website, which controlled most of the phones' features.
Microsoft loaded its unsold inventory of the phones with updated firmware that removed the social and web-based features. In December 2011, it offered these re-purposed units through Verizon Wireless stores as limited feature phones, the Kin ONEm and the Kin TWOm.
The Kin project was first known by the codename 'Project Pink', and began under direction of Microsoft executive J Allard. In order to gain a head start, Microsoft acquired Danger Incorporated in 2008 for a purchase price rumored to be around US$500 million. In September 2009, a ZDNet source reported that Project Pink would bring an entirely new software stack and services. Some reports predicted that the new mobile phone platform would be based on the Zune media device.
Kin was developed inside Microsoft's Premium Mobile Experiences (PMX) division by a group that included employees from Danger Inc.. Handset manufacturers and network carriers were said to be initially enthusiastic about Kin, and vying with each other to be involved with the project.
According to Engadget, there was jealousy and rivalry in Microsoft's executive ranks, and Windows Phone Senior Vice President Andy Lees managed to wrestle control of the Kin project away from J Allard, and move it under his Windows Phone division. Danger Incorporated's 'Sidekick' phone, which was the predecessor of Kin, was based on the Java programming language, but Engadget says that Andy Lees wanted Kin to run on an in-house Microsoft operating system. Microsoft planned to base Kin on Windows Phone. Due to delays with Windows Phone, however, the software instead had to be based directly upon Windows CE.
The unveiling of Microsoft Kin began when the company sent out invitations to select reporters for a mystery event in San Francisco on April 12, 2010. The tagline on the invitation said "It's time to share". However, merely hours later a source confirmed that the event was about Project Pink (the codename for Microsoft Kin, the official name not having been announced yet). The event was held in a night club called Mighty and featured a presentation given by Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's Entertainment and Device division.
Microsoft was criticized for an online video advertisement for the phone that depicted a male teenager putting a Kin under his shirt to photograph his naked chest. He was then shown sending the image to a female teenager. The Consumer Reports group described the advertisement as a "downright creepy sequence," suggesting that it promoted sexting. In response, Microsoft deleted the "inappropriate" portion of the video.
Kin suffered from poor sales. Microsoft executives told The New York Times that they were dismayed that Verizon Wireless staff were not promoting the phones actively enough. After only forty-eight days on the market, Microsoft discontinued the Kin line on June 30, 2010 and by mid July 2010 Verizon returned all their unsold phones to Microsoft. Its planned European release on UK carrier Vodafone was canceled.
“The Kin was a mistake from Day One,” Rob Enderle, principal analyst of Enderle Group, told eWeek magazine. “The extra time they took to convert the Kin from the Sidekick platform to Windows CE made it about a year-and-a-half late to market, and the merger likely added another year-and-a-half. That’s 1.5 to 3 years late depending on when you start the clock.”
On November 18, 2010 Verizon Wireless's website confirmed that the Kin ONE and Kin TWO were back on the market with a reworked feature phone operating system, re-badged as Kin ONEm and Kin TWOm. Since the new phone did not use the Kin.com website it did not require a data plan. The new version of the phone arrived at the Verizon stores in December of that year. Aside from the names and changed classification as feature phones rather than smartphones, the prices of the devices have dropped, with the Kin ONEm reduced from $50 to free, and the Kin TWOm reduced from $100 to $50, with a new two-year contract.
The new feature phone OS removed the web based and social networking integration features such as the Kin Loop, Kin Spot, Kin Studio. The newer "m" phones (identified by "m" next to the model number and two yellow dots on the corners) could be "downgraded" to the original firmware version via holding "r", "b", and "power" upon turning on the device (a procedure that also erases all the phones stored data and settings). The Kin website was discontinued on January 2011, and all user pictures and other information stored on the website were deleted. Verizon offered a free trade-in to all affected phone owners, offering a 3G smartphone in return. After the Kin website was discontinued the Kin Loop, Kin Spot, Kin Studio became non functional on the original Kin ONE and Kin TWO making them also essentially feature phones that did not require a data plan.
Features (original Kin series) 
Microsoft describes Kin devices as "social phones". The devices straddle the feature phone and smartphone markets, with a third-party OS on the devices, but without downloadable apps or games. with an emphasis on social networking and sharing of content.
Social networking 
Commentators have highlighted Loop's 15-minute delay for updates, which CNET's Ina Fried described as "odd" and, PC World argued, was at odds with Microsoft's claim that the phone is "always-connected". Users cannot adjust Kin's 15-minute interval between message updates, however the user can simply hit a refresh button on-screen or "Lock" then "Unlock" the phone. Microsoft cites battery life and immature social networking APIs as reasons for the delay; Engadget speculates that Microsoft may also be using the delayed messaging to encourage Verizon to offer lower-priced data plans, which would be attractive to the platform's teenage target audience.
The Spot is represented as an omnipresent colored dot (according to the theme set) near the bottom center of the screen. To add an address field, the user drags a recipient's photo to the Spot, then clicks on the Spot, and a page will open allowing the user to create a new email, SMS or MMS.
The Spot can also be used to set up e-mail attachments. However, Kin only supports email attachments, and does not support attachments to other media (like MMS). To attach content to an email, the user drags the content to the Spot, then drags the recipient's photo to the Spot, after which an email can be sent containing those attachments.
The Spot cannot be used to send content to social media sites.
Cloud storage 
Content from the Kin phone, like photos, videos and messages, was automatically synchronized to a cloud service called Kin Studio and is accessible through a browser. This service was similar to the phoneklone service offered on the Android platform. The Kin Studio website was written in Silverlight and its appearance was similar to the Kin UI, even including a Spot for sharing content. The kin studio was shut down as of January 2011.
The Kin ONE features a five-megapixel camera with standard-definition video recording capabilities. The Kin TWO includes an eight-megapixel camera with 720p video recording. Photos are automatically geocoded on the original phones, but this was disabled on the "m" phones. Every photo and video taken on the original models is uploaded (through January 2011) to Microsoft's service, known as 'Kin Studio'. There is no photo editing software for Kin.
Media playback 
For media, Kin devices sync with Zune desktop software. In addition, the phones are compatible with Zune Pass. Much like current Zune devices, Kin phones can also stream music over a WiFi connection in addition to 3G on the carrier's network. For Mac users, Microsoft in collaboration with Mark/Space has provided a media syncing tool that pulls audio and video files from iTunes and photos from iPhoto. Kin does not support playing video from sites such as YouTube or Hulu, but the Kin devices can watch YouTube videos from the browser though WiFi or 3G.
Kin has no app store and no third-party apps can be installed on the phones. PC World described this as "baffling". Further, the web browser does not support Flash web applications, and there are no games for the phones. Microsoft had claimed that the Kin and Windows Phone platforms will eventually be merged, and downloadable apps will be available for the combined platform.
Missing features 
Reviewers have highlighted a number of notable omissions from Kin's initial feature set:
- The contact list can only be copied from another phone by Verizon store employees. There is no way for the consumer to do this by any known means (over the air, via a memory or SIM card, wirelessly via Bluetooth and vCard, or via direct USB cable connection).
- Kin has no calendar or appointment application, nor any ability to sync with Outlook calendar or Google Calendar. Some commentators have suggested that a social phone should be able to share a social events calendar.
- Kin is unable to Instant Message (IM), or use any IM client, which is considered odd for a phone built for messaging, and aimed at the youth market. It was discovered that the ROM inside the phones contains the foundation for an IM system supporting AOL Instant Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo! Messenger, but it was not currently operational. It was speculated that future revisions of the software would enable instant messaging.
- There is no spelling correction or predictive text input on the Kin.
Network charges 
In the United States, cellular telephone provider Verizon Wireless sold the Kin phones with a voice plan starting at $39.99 per month. An optional Zune Pass costs $14.99 per month for music access. (After the Kin.com website was discontinued in January of 2011 the original Kin ONE and Kin TWO did not require a data plan, although the optional Zune Pass was still available).
Relationship to Windows Phone 
"Both KIN and Windows Phone share common OS components, software and services. We will seek to align around a single platform for both products as well as consistent hardware specifications."
Microsoft said that the underlying fundamentals of Kin and Windows Phone will be held together by similar core technologies. Both operating systems run the same Silverlight platform. Microsoft has stated that over the long-term, Windows Phone would be merged with Kin.
Features (Kin "m" series) 
In November 2010, Microsoft and Verizon re-launched the Kin phones, re-labeling them as feature phones with no required data plan. The prices of the phones also were slashed. Where the Kin TWO was formerly $100 on a two-year contract, the new Kin TWOm is now $20 on contract. Similarly, the Kin ONE, formerly $50 on a contract, is now $0 on contract. The fact that a data plan is no longer required, coupled with the fact that the phones are now marketed as feature phones, means that several data-centric features of the operating system have been removed. This includes many of the devices' social elements such as the Loop home screen, the spot, and the KIN Studio cloud storage site. With the lack of a data plan requirement and lower prices up front, Microsoft and Verizon hoped to do what they originally planned to do: capture the teenage market.
Zune music 
One seemingly data-laden feature of the old Kin devices succeeding to the new platform is Zune Pass. Still available with the currently sold models, Zune Pass is able to stream music only over Wi-Fi now, even when customers have 3G data enabled, to conserve data. The reason for this is Verizon's new tiered data plans, which marks the end of unlimited data for users. Users are also able to sync music, podcasts, TV shows, and movies to their Kin phones through the Zune software. Music can be downloaded directly to the phones as well, though only over Wi-Fi. Podcasts, TV shows, and movies must be synced to the phone via the Zune Software on a Windows PC. no music is available eventually.
New features 
One of the complaints with the Kin phones was their lack of a calculator and a calendar, applications that even the most basic feature phone typically has. The calendar application, though simple, quells most users' complaints with timed alerts and reminders, as well as day, month, and year views. One issue is that the calendar cannot be synchronized with Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Exchange, or even Windows Live Hotmail. The calculator application, though simple, is able to complete most functions. One drawback is that when the phone is rotated, the calculator does not turn into a scientific calculator, per most phones with accelerometer, but instead simply re-orients to landscape mode.
Missing features 
Aside from the social networking features, the phone now also no longer geocodes pictures. Other features missing on the original version continue to be absent from the current software, including disallowing Bluetooth access for file transfer and wireless printing. A missing feature on the Kin TWOm is its inability to forward previously sent messages. Text messages are sent in a chat style format making it unable to single out a certain text message.
"The KIN uses a proprietary browser made specifically for the KIN. No other browsers can be used or downloaded. Silverlight was used for the creation of the KIN studio, not the browser." The browser is IEMobile 6.12. The full user agent string is:
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows CE; IEMobile 6.12; en-US; KIN.Two 1.0)
Kin ONE and ONEm 
- Originally codenamed Turtle
- QWERTY keyboard that slides up and lies on top of the phone
- 2.6" TFT, QVGA (320 x 240) Display
- Capacitive touch screen
- 5 megapixel camera, with LED flash
- 4 GB of memory, 256 MB DDR RAM
- Nvidia Tegra at 600 MHz
- Mono Speaker
- Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP
- USB (for charging, syncing with Zune Software)
Kin TWO and TWOm 
- Originally codenamed Pure
- Side-sliding QWERTY keyboard
- 3.4" TFT, HVGA (480x320) pixel Display
- Capacitive touch screen
- 8 megapixel camera, with Lumi LED flash
- 720p Video Recording
- 8 GB of memory, 256 MB DDR RAM
- Nvidia Tegra at 600 MHz
- Stereo Speaker
- Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP
- USB (for charging, syncing with Zune Software)
See also 
- Priya Ganapati (2 April 2010). "Hands-On: Can Kin Phones Make Microsoft Cool Again?". wired.com. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
- "Microsoft Ushers in the Next Generation of the Social Phone With KIN, a New Windows Phone" (Press release). Microsoft. 12 April 2010. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
- Ina Fried (23 September 2009). "Microsoft's 'Pink' emerges from Danger's shadow". CNET.
- Fried, Ina (2010-04-12). "Microsoft's Kin: What it is-and isn't". News.cnet.com. Retrieved 2010-07-08.
- Eric Zeman (8 July 2010). "Does It Matter How Many Kins Microsoft Sold?". InformationWeek.
- "Microsoft Kills Kin". Gizmodo. 30 June 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
- "Notify The Next Of Kin". InformationWeek. 30 June 2010.
- David Flynn (12 February 2008). "Microsoft buys maker of Sidekick and Hiptop smartphones". . Retrieved March 14, 2012.
- Ina Fried (5 April 2010). "Microsoft's mystery event revealed". CNET. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
- Joshua Topolsky (5 May 2010). "Microsoft Kin One and Two review". Engadget.
- "Windows Phone 7 and KIN Closer Cousins Than Thought". Phone Scoop. 12 May 2010.
- "Verizon returns unsold Kin phones, pulls online sales, July 18, 2010". Electronista.com. July 18, 2010. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
- Ziegler, Chris (2010-06-30). "Microsoft Kin is dead". Engadget.com. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
- "Life and death of Microsoft Kin: the inside story". Engadget. 2 July 2010.
- Om Malik (12 February 2008). "How Much Did Microsoft Pay For Danger?". GigaOM. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
- Todd Bishop (30 June 2010). "Confirmed: Microsoft Kin is dead". TechFlash. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
- Mary-Jo Foley (24 September 2009). "Microsoft Pink: 'Just a Sidekick' or more?". ZDNet. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
- Daniel Eran Dilger (12 October 2009). "Microsoft's Sidekick/Pink problems blamed on dogfooding and sabotage". AppleInsider. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
- "Microsoft's Pink Struggles Spill Over To Sidekick". ChannelWeb. UBM Channel. 12 October 2009. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
- Dave Methvin (30 June 2010). "Notify The Next Of Kin". InformationWeek. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
- Fried, Ina (2010-04-05). "Microsoft's mystery event revealed | Beyond Binary - CNET News". News.cnet.com. Retrieved 2010-07-08.
- Fried, Ina (2010-04-12). "Microsoft launches Kin phones (live blog) | Beyond Binary - CNET News". News.cnet.com. Retrieved 2010-07-08.
- "Microsoft yanks KIN ad boob". The Register. 19 April 2010.
- Ashlee Vance (4 July 2010). "Microsoft Calling. Anyone There?". The New York Times. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
- Helft, Miguel (30 June 2010). "Microsoft Kin Discontinued After 48 Days". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- "Microsoft KIN Dies Before Time". WINARS. 1 July 2010.[dead link]
- "Verizon Bringing Microsoft Kin Back from the Dead". eWeek. 13 November 2010.
- "Set Your Location". Verizonwireless.com. Retrieved 2013-02-04.[dead link]
- Lowensohn, Josh (2010-11-19). "Kin's quiet return a rarity among failed gadgets | Microsoft - CNET News". News.cnet.com. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
- Hollister, Sean (2010-12-11). "Kin Studio closing January 31st, Verizon offers free phones to affected customers". Engadget.com. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
- Troy Wolverton (16 May 2010). "Wolverton: A look at Microsoft's new Kin phones". San Jose Mercury News.
- Ina Fried (13 April 2010). "Kin sometimes out of the loop". CNET.
- "The Curious Thing About Microsoft Kin". PC World. 15 April 2010.
- Hollister, Sean (13 April 2010). "Microsoft Kin notifications have up to fifteen minute delay". Engadget. Weblogs, Inc. Retrieved 16 April 2010.
- Mies, Ginny (12 April 2010). "Microsoft Kin Two: Stylish, but Missing Some Key Features". The Washington Post. [[PCWorld (magazine)|]]. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
- PhoneKlone retrieved on March 15, 2011
- Thurrott, Paul (12 April 2010). "Microsoft KIN: Notes from the launch". Windows Phone Secrets. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
- "Microsoft Kin One and Kin Two: Specs and perspective". Mobile Magazine. 13 April 2010.
- "Kin One: Slick Software, Unimpressive Hardware". BusinessWeek. 12 April 2010.
- Buchanan, Matt (12 April 2010). "Microsoft Kin: The Perfect Phone for Sidekick Fans". Gizmodo. Gawker Media. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
- Zeman, Eric (12 April 2010). "First Impressions Of Microsoft's Kin Platform". InformationWeek. UBM TechWeb. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
- "Microsoft's Kin Smartphones Could Eclipse Windows Phone 7". eWeek. 13 April 2010.
- Matt Hamblen (12 May 2010). "Microsoft, Verizon defend Kin's monthly pricing, noting cloud backup".
- "Microsoft Kin handsets might get IM support in the future". Mobile Crunch. 14 June 2010.
- Zack Whittaker (5 May 2010). "Kin network pricing is youth extortion: $85 a month". ZDNet.
- "What Browser does the KIN twom use? - Microsoft Community". Answers.microsoft.com. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
- "Microsoft launches the Kin!". Tegra Developer Zone (Press release). nVidia. 13 April 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
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- "Zune HD specs including Tegra Details" (Press release). PC World And Windows. 19 August 2009. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
- Gizmodo article about Kin
- Microsoft's Channel 9 Demo Video
- The next step into social is Microsoft Kin
- Unboxing: Microsoft Kin Two - Windows Phone from Verizon by Sharp
- Sharp KIN TWOm (Verizon Wireless) overview & user reviews