A Failed Experiment: The Rise and Fall of Microsoft Kin in the Smartphone Era

Kin: Microsoft’s Answer to the Latest iPhone and Android Phones in 2008

The smartphone era began in the early 20th century with the introduction of iOS operating systems for iPhones and Android smartphones. In response, Microsoft released the Microsoft Kin, a product that marked a pivotal moment in the mobile device industry. During this time, giants like Apple, Google, and Samsung were all vying for dominance in the market.

Microsoft had been in the mobile device industry for some time with its Windows Mobile devices. However, following the release of the iPhone, Microsoft began working on ‘Microsoft Pink’ or ‘Project Pink’. This project was led by J Allard while another team, led by Andy Lees, was working on Windows Phone. These teams had different visions for Microsoft’s mobile strategy, leading to internal conflicts within the company.

Eventually, Lees’ team won out and Microsoft Kin was born. This unique smartphone was marketed as a social networking and communication device targeted towards a younger audience. However, its launch was met with criticism due to controversial marketing tactics promoting sexting. The Kin ONE and Kin Two were the two products released under this line, both featuring touchscreen displays, cameras and a sliding QWERTY keyboard.

Despite its innovative concept, the Kin did not have an app store or email syncing capabilities. It also lacked popular features such as instant messaging apps and had poorly designed keyboards. Ultimately, Microsoft Kin failed to gain traction in the market with only 500 units sold at launch before being discontinued marking a brief but important moment in the history of smartphones.

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