On this day one year ago, the KIN One and Two by Microsoft/Danger/Sharp went on sale for Verizon Wireless, after years of rumors/leaks/delays on “Project Pink [and Purple]“. At the time both Microsoft and Verizon had a big marketing push for this “social phone”, and both companies seemed committed making this phone a success. From the get-go, though, this phone seemed destined to fail. Pundits were perplexed as to why Microsoft was investing in a second Windows Phone platform, and tech reviewers
slammed the app/game-lacking feature phone with a smartphone price/data plan.
Not two months had passed when suddenly (though unsurprisingly) Microsoft announced the phone’s discontinuation. Several rumors and insider information emerged on the souring of the Microsoft-Verizon relationship, including an ominous one claiming that “Microsoft [had] backed away from Verizon as a Windows Phone 7 launch partner”. Whether or not the non-availability of Windows Phone 7 on Verizon at launch was caused by the KIN fiasco, or whether it was more of Microsoft’s desire to focus on the global universality of GSM, is unknown. But it certainly did not help Microsoft that the nation’s largest (and most reliable) wireless carrier did not (and still has not) carry its new mobile platform.
Meanwhile at Verizon, Google has, like a parasite, completely invaded the company over this past year with Android handset after Android handset; a formula that must be working for them, with each new phone only offering a slight incremental improvement over the other. Then in February the Fruity Phone became available. The truth of the matter is, from a business/sales standpoint, Verizon feels like it doesn’t need the Windows Phone platform. Even their executives have publically admitted to it.
It does seem like we’ll be getting our Trophy sooner rather than later, though to many people it’s already been too long of a wait already. It will be interesting to see whether Verizon will treat Windows Phones as dismissively as have the other wireless carries, though with its obsession with Google and Apple it’s not hard to see them relegating Windows Phone to a corner, literally. Ironically, an even more watered down variant of KIN (ONEm and TWOm) is still being sold at Verizon.
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen when any of KIN’s features will be ported to Windows Phone, and what that would look like. Last June, when Microsoft announced the discontinuation, they also said that the KIN team would be joining the Windows Phone team. At the time Microsoft was in the middle of finalizing the fall release of Windows Phone 7, and probably in the late planning phase of Mango. So far we’ve seen no indication of Loop, Spot, or Studio in either Microsoft statements or leaks of 7.5. Personally, I wouldn’t hold my breath for any of the KIN technologies in Mango; I mean, if it took the KIN team several years to develop them on their phones, I don’t think they could implement them in Windows Phone in just a couple of months. For some reason I think those technologies are so ambitious, that I don’t see them appearing any time before Windows Phone 8, especially if it’s Microsoft’s idea to fuse together the desktop and phone OSes. Can you imagine: KIN Studio coupled with Windows 8 History Vault coupled together with Mesh? Other people have.