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Internal Videos Show Microsoft Knew Kin Phones May Flop

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.

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  • myromance123
    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.
    Reply
  • DjEaZy
    ... and after a short time the videos come out, that confirms, that windows ex-metro UI on desktop is crap...
    Reply
  • halcyon
    Kin phones? I'd be embarrassed to admit it to anyone if I'd bought one.
    Reply
  • friskiest
    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.

    Reply
  • kellybean
    Will be reading a story about Windows 8 similar to this in the future?
    Reply
  • seinfeld
    this seemed like a sales focus group. can anyone identify the voices or people in it?
    Reply
  • SteelCity1981
    did they also know about issues with Windows 8 phones and Windows 8 being dissapointing too?
    Reply
  • sykozis
    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....
    Reply
  • wemakeourfuture
    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.
    Reply
  • dudenucom
    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!!!!
    Reply