May 22, 2024 6:42 pm
Kin: Microsoft’s answer to the latest iPhone and Android smartphones in 2008

In the early 21st century, with the emergence of iOS and Android operating systems, Microsoft felt compelled to respond. They did so by launching the Microsoft Kin, a product that may not be widely remembered but marked a pivotal moment in the company’s smartphone journey. A report from Xataka recounts this story, highlighting the fierce competition between brands like Apple, Google, and Samsung.

Microsoft had been producing mobile devices for several years prior to this point, with their flagship product being Windows Phone. However, as competition intensified, they realized they needed to adapt or risk becoming irrelevant. As a result, they developed Windows Kin in an attempt to stay competitive in the smartphone market.

The launch of Windows Kin sparked internal strife within Bill Gates’ company. While the company already had Windows Mobile in their line of mobile devices, changes were necessary to keep up with the changing times. This led to different visions for the company’s future within smartphones among different teams within Microsoft.

At this time, Microsoft was also working on ‘Microsoft Pink’ or ‘Project Pink’, which was led by James Allard and completely independent of the work being done on Windows Phone by Andy Lees. The two teams had contrasting ideas for where Microsoft should go with its smartphone business, leading to tension within the company. Ultimately, it was Andy Lees who emerged victorious and took charge of the Windows Kin project.

In April 2010, Microsoft officially unveiled Windows Kin to the public with an emphasis on social networking and communication features. However, criticism soon arose about how their marketing campaign promoted questionable behaviors. Despite this setback, two versions of Kin were launched – Kin ONE and Kin TWO – both featuring a capacitive touch panel cameras and a sliding QWERTY keyboard design. However, there were issues with these designs as well: while each device lacked an app store and other essential features such as games or calendar apps; synchronization with Outlook; or instant messaging apps; these issues ultimately led to its eventual withdrawal from market after only one year of sales despite selling only around 500 units at launch.

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