Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Internal Videos Show Microsoft Knew Kin Phones May Flop

By - Source: Wired | B 19 comments

Testers complained about the Kin phones long before they were shipped off to store shelves.

Wired has gained access to three supposed internal videos from Microsoft that show testers handling the failed Kin One and Kin Two family of smartphones.

Based on the videos alone, it appears that the Redmond company may have known these devices would flop on the market, but launched the social phones anyway to see if they would have better luck with the consumer masses. That didn't happen of course, as the two Kin phones were pulled from the market 48 days after they were first initially released.

According to Wired, these videos were provided by a "person who worked on the [Kin] project". The source claims that the devices seen in the leaked footage were pre-production models that changed very little from the shipping product save for some performance improvements. The unnamed source didn't say anything positive about the phones, nor did the test subjects fondling the Microsoft gadgets in the videos.

In the first video provided to Wired, testers were given the opportunity to provide open-ended, overall feedback on their experience using the Kin phones. The other two videos show the testers having great difficulty in making simple calls, and trying to manage an extremely laggy interface. One tester even said that his daughter would likely give the device back, refusing to use it. despite its social appeal.

"The phone seems really slow in responding," said one tester, "and that makes it confused as to what it's doing. For instance, I was in the dialer – I'm trying to kit a key, it thinks I am trying to pan, so it doesn't do anything. Just bringing up the camera, it's useless for anything spontaneous. This phone would have gone back if I paid for it."

The Kin ONE and Kin TWO launched back in May 6, 2010, promoted as phones best suited for social network junkies. They put music, photos and social media at the forefront of the Kin experience. However in July 2010 Verizon Wireless stopped selling the devices due to poor sales and returned the unsold units back to Microsoft. The Redmond company halted production shortly after that, and the Kin team was assimilated into the Windows Phone division.

Given that they were phones aimed at young adults and social network users -- even packed with slide-out keypads -- the phones shipped without any kind of instant messaging system, nor could they support an IM client. They also didn't feature any kind of spelling correction or predictive text input, nor did they have a calendar or appointment app. Even more, contact lists could only be copied from other phones by a Verizon store employee.

To see the three leaked Microsoft videos, head here.

 

Contact Us for News Tips, Corrections and Feedback


Contact Us for News Tips, Corrections and Feedback

Display 19 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    myromance123 , November 24, 2012 9:45 AM
    Wow, Microsoft must be swimming in cash to be able to manufacture two different phone lines and remove them only 48 days after. No wonder they can stay on top, they can just keep throwing things into the sea until the fish bite it. I bet there are W8 videos as well, but we'll probably never see them.
Other Comments
  • 13 Hide
    myromance123 , November 24, 2012 9:45 AM
    Wow, Microsoft must be swimming in cash to be able to manufacture two different phone lines and remove them only 48 days after. No wonder they can stay on top, they can just keep throwing things into the sea until the fish bite it. I bet there are W8 videos as well, but we'll probably never see them.
  • -4 Hide
    DjEaZy , November 24, 2012 10:10 AM
    ... and after a short time the videos come out, that confirms, that windows ex-metro UI on desktop is crap...
  • 9 Hide
    halcyon , November 24, 2012 10:12 AM
    Kin phones? I'd be embarrassed to admit it to anyone if I'd bought one.
  • 8 Hide
    friskiest , November 24, 2012 10:42 AM
    Its the Kin- slow, small and short lived,. no need to beat a dead horse.

    With MS' pile of cash,. they could afford to lose some millions if not billions from the mobile market, even now, We still can't tell if Windows Phone would end up successful.

    So what matters right now is Windows 8- as this is where they get most of their profit.

  • 3 Hide
    kellybean , November 24, 2012 12:19 PM
    Will be reading a story about Windows 8 similar to this in the future?
  • 1 Hide
    seinfeld , November 24, 2012 12:34 PM
    this seemed like a sales focus group. can anyone identify the voices or people in it?
  • -5 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , November 24, 2012 1:13 PM
    did they also know about issues with Windows 8 phones and Windows 8 being dissapointing too?
  • 6 Hide
    sykozis , November 24, 2012 1:50 PM
    Few inaccuracies in the article....as usual....

    Kin was NEVER a smartphone. It was marketed as a multimedia phone from day 1.

    Verizon didn't "return the unsold units back to Microsoft".... They warehoused them, then months later had MS disable the social networking features and sold off the remaining stock to consumers.

    No calendar? My KinTwo does in fact have a calendar app built in. My KinTwo is also quite responsive.

    Contact lists can only be copied by Verizon store employees? Damn....don't tell my HTC Trophy that... I used Windows Live Mail to copy contacts from my KinTwo to my HTC Trophy and my former Samsung Transform Ultra. Can also use MS Exchange if you got a copy of the software.

    Also, according to research done by Verizon, sales of the KinOne and KinTwo were poor due to the $30 "smartphone" data package being required for a "multimedia" phone. I guess Verizon customers lied in that survey....
  • -7 Hide
    wemakeourfuture , November 24, 2012 4:12 PM
    sykozisFew inaccuracies in the article....as usual....Kin was NEVER a smartphone. It was marketed as a multimedia phone from day 1.Verizon didn't "return the unsold units back to Microsoft".... They warehoused them, then months later had MS disable the social networking features and sold off the remaining stock to consumers.No calendar? My KinTwo does in fact have a calendar app built in. My KinTwo is also quite responsive.Contact lists can only be copied by Verizon store employees? Damn....don't tell my HTC Trophy that... I used Windows Live Mail to copy contacts from my KinTwo to my HTC Trophy and my former Samsung Transform Ultra. Can also use MS Exchange if you got a copy of the software.Also, according to research done by Verizon, sales of the KinOne and KinTwo were poor due to the $30 "smartphone" data package being required for a "multimedia" phone. I guess Verizon customers lied in that survey....


    You get a down vote for owning a Kin. Please don't tell me you also bought a Zune.
  • 3 Hide
    dudenucom , November 24, 2012 4:57 PM
    I had one...why? Because its a phone with wifi, ability to send/receive email, browse the internet, 8gb of storage, and a zune music player "feature phone" and not a "smartphione" from verizon. Could use this without the 40 dollar data plan that I did not want to pay for. So when people compare this to "smartphone", they have no idea what they are talking about. Compare this to "feature phones" and this blows EVERYTHING out of the water!!!!
  • 4 Hide
    bllue , November 24, 2012 6:04 PM
    myromance123Wow, Microsoft must be swimming in cash to be able to manufacture two different phone lines and remove them only 48 days after. No wonder they can stay on top, they can just keep throwing things into the sea until the fish bite it. I bet there are W8 videos as well, but we'll probably never see them.

    Unlike another certain company out there who year after shells out the same product with minimal differences and next to zero innovation. Quite the risk takers MS are. Maybe some day they'll get a big bite.
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , November 24, 2012 6:13 PM
    Well I am sure that when they do find the windows 8 Metro/Modern videos, that It will most likely be blindfolded M$ programming VPs throwing darts randomly at marketing morons' post it notes suggestions stuck to the office wall, the first dart to hit paper wins! Not quality research, but it is the M$ way!
  • -1 Hide
    wemakeourfuture , November 24, 2012 7:07 PM
    dudenucomI had one...why? Because its a phone with wifi, ability to send/receive email, browse the internet, 8gb of storage, and a zune music player "feature phone" and not a "smartphione" from verizon. Could use this without the 40 dollar data plan that I did not want to pay for. So when people compare this to "smartphone", they have no idea what they are talking about. Compare this to "feature phones" and this blows EVERYTHING out of the water!!!!


    It was such a terrible and crappy phone. It was beyond horrible, awful and crashed and burned to tech hell. It came out the same time as the iPhone and Galaxy S and was no where near as good.

    Me and my colleagues all new this was one of the worst products to have a Microsoft label on it. Right when it came out we expected it to last a few months as it did.

    It was a complete joke of a product.

    WiFi, Internet, media player and you think it doesn't compete with smartphones? That's why Verizon relabelled it as a "feature phone" no one in their right mind wanted to buy this garbage. I can't believe there were any suckers who actually did.
  • 4 Hide
    Darkerson , November 24, 2012 10:59 PM
    wemakeourfutureYou get a down vote for owning a Kin. Please don't tell me you also bought a Zune.

    And you got one for being a arrogant, judgemental prick.
  • 1 Hide
    pjmelect , November 24, 2012 11:16 PM
    Why do Microsoft bother to do pre production testing on their products if they ignore the results? The preview versions of Windows 8 and Vista had similar negative responses and they completely ignored the feedback. A smaller company would go bust if the managers behaved like this, but then Microsoft does have very deep pockets. With the current management in Microsoft I think that it would be a good time to sell their shares.
  • 2 Hide
    jackt , November 25, 2012 4:23 AM
    MS keepin his suicidal line, what they think ? if the phone has a funny shape we forget its so big?
  • 1 Hide
    sykozis , November 25, 2012 1:46 PM
    wemakeourfutureYou get a down vote for owning a Kin. Please don't tell me you also bought a Zune.

    No, I bought a Creative Zen V Plus, which turned out to actually be worse than the Zune. Fortunately I got it on sale when the local Circuit City was starting it's "going out of business" sale.

    wemakeourfutureIt was such a terrible and crappy phone. It was beyond horrible, awful and crashed and burned to tech hell. It came out the same time as the iPhone and Galaxy S and was no where near as good.Me and my colleagues all new this was one of the worst products to have a Microsoft label on it. Right when it came out we expected it to last a few months as it did.It was a complete joke of a product.WiFi, Internet, media player and you think it doesn't compete with smartphones? That's why Verizon relabelled it as a "feature phone" no one in their right mind wanted to buy this garbage. I can't believe there were any suckers who actually did.

    The Kin line was never advertised as a "Smartphone". From day 1, Verizon and Microsoft advertised it as a "Multimedia" phone. It was never intended to compete with the iPhone or Android based phones. It was intended to compete with phones such as the LG Chocolate line of phones, which were also "Multimedia" phones. For the market segment it was designed for, and advertised as, it was the most advanced phone ever released. Sadly, it's still the most advanced "multimedia" phone ever released. When it was re-released later, it was marketed as a "feature phone" because carriers dropped the "multimedia" phone designation due to "feature phones" picking up multimedia functions.
  • 0 Hide
    Arls , November 25, 2012 6:46 PM
    Quote:
    You get a down vote for owning a Kin. Please don't tell me you also bought a Zune.


    WTF is exactly wrong with a Zune? I'm just curious, I don't own one but my gf does and I like it. Big screen, easy to use. The only con imo is the lack of a touch screen. But really when it comes to mp3 players who cares?
  • 0 Hide
    sykozis , November 26, 2012 12:31 AM
    ArlsWTF is exactly wrong with a Zune? I'm just curious, I don't own one but my gf does and I like it. Big screen, easy to use. The only con imo is the lack of a touch screen. But really when it comes to mp3 players who cares?

    The only problem with Zune....is the Zune software....