Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kin Studio Terminated for Good

kin studio terminated
Just recently, Verizon sent out a letter to their customers explaining that the Kin Studio will no longer be in existence as of January 31. They also explained that any Kin One and Kin Two users will be offered any 3G replacement phone of their choice up until March 31.

On May 13, 2010, Microsoft released the uniquely designed Kin One and Kin Two phones. The reviews of the phone weren’t all bad, but they weren’t very good either. A lot of the criticism about the phones surrounded the required data packages that users had to take out and the pricing of the different packages. Critics were saying that the Kin phones did have a few extra features, but there wasn’t anything too special about them, and they were being priced as a smartphone. The Kin phones simply could not compete with the other smartphones that Verizon offered. After only 48 days of being on the market, the phones were discontinued. It was estimated that only about 9,000 devices were sold in that time period.

In the official statement that Microsoft made about discontinuing the Kin phones, they said, “We have made the decision to focus on our Windows Phone 7 launch 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.”

At the time Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Brenda Raney said, "Kin is still an important part of our portfolio," but obviously it wasn’t doing too well because Verizon quickly dropped the prices of the phones due to very low sales numbers.
On top of the phones being discontinued for almost six months now, the Kin Studio is closing as well. The Kin Studio is a cloud service that allows users unlimited storage of their photos, videos, and contacts for free on Microsoft’s servers.

Although the Kin Studio is being shut down, the phones will still be able to function; there will just be lots of key features that will no longer be available on the phones. The Kin phones will still have the ability to make and receive calls, text messages, write emails, browse the Web, and stream music via Zune Pass. They will not be able to deliver other features though like the extremely built up social media capabilities that the phones were supposed to possess. Kin users will no longer be able to update statuses, post photos, or leave comments on any of the social networking sites. Updates to the home screen of the Kin phones will no longer occur, the feed reader for RSS feeds will stop working, there will no longer be any over-the-air updates, and any data that users have stored via Kin Studio will no longer be accessible. Users will be able to access this data until January 31, so there is still time for them to transfer the data to their computer before the service is permanently closed.

Last month, Verizon announced that they will soon be offering the new rebranded Kin ONEm for $19.99 and the Kin TWOm for $49.99 with a two-year contract. The phones look very similar to the original Kin One and Kin Two, but these phones will be available as a straight feature phone. This means that customers won’t have to take a data package with the ONEm and TWOm.

A Verizon spokesperson said that the new Kin phones are being released to “provide an option for customers who liked the form factor of the previous Kin phones but want an Internet-capable device that doesn't require a data plan."

I think it’s great that Verizon is offering such a generous deal to current Kin users by allowing them to select any 3G phone free of charge. I think that it is good that Microsoft is finally admitting true defeat with the Kin One and Kin Two, and I guess we’ll just have to see how the Kin ONEm and Kin TWOm come out. It won’t take much for them to be a million times better than their predecessors.

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