February 2010: Microsoft acquires Danger and Project Pink is announced. Pink was to make a device with Deep social networking roots integrating hardware and services to cater to the social generation.
April 2010: The Kin was announced
June 29, 2010: Kin One price dropped from $50 to $30 and Kin Two price dropped from $100 to $50.
July 1, 2010: Microsoft announces that it will cease the development of its Kin Device and Web Based Services. Kin Development team to be merged into Windows 7 group. Microsoft to support Verizon sell current Kin phones in US
Microsoft has never been “hot” amongst the Google and Facebook generation of “deeply social” networked generation. If at all it had a chance of making up on the Androids, Facebooks, Googles and Twitters of the world, Kin was it and now the chances have gone blank. Kin was being designed as a distinct add on to Windows 7, with both targeting different market segments.
The Move to abandon Kin after less than two months of launch comes as a considerable surprise and is unprecedented in mobile industry where the costs inherent in R&D, Product Development, marketing and promotion rarely see a project abandoned so early in its life cycle unless technical problems make it completely unavoidable. The inability to sell as per forecasts in six weeks after launch also doesnot warrant such a premature death for a device which was conceptualized to be so radically different. The Kin product line was abandoned 2 days after a big drop in prices to support sales. That looks a very premature decision. The Kin was a very bold and innovative offering but its lack of commercial traction came as a less of a surprise than Microsoft’s decision to abandon it so quickly.
Like the Danger devices before it, Kin was ahead of its time. The Kin phones are the first devices to reflect the target audience’s shift to social networking services as primary means of communication rather than voice, text or email. This resulted in a radically different user interface with a flat hierarchy driven by sharing paradigm known as the “Kin Spot”.
While Kin’s primary audience is undoubtedly tuned into social networking as a primary means of communication, the devices’s magazine-style or collage-like interface was arguably too big a leap for many. Furthermore, despite being optimized for social networking services, the Kin One and Two suffered from limited extensibility. The lack of support for third party apps such as IM and LBS limited Kin’s functionality.