Microsoft’s Kin: A Pioneer in Social Networking and Communication Devices, Yet Another Casualty in the Race for Smartphone Dominance

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

The early 20th century marked the birth of smartphone operating systems for iPhones and Android devices, with the iconic HTC Dream leading the way. In response, Microsoft introduced the Microsoft Kin, a product often overlooked but significant in its own right. This was a time when smartphone 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.

In the end, it was Lees’ team that won out, resulting in the birth of Microsoft Kin. This unique smartphone was marketed as a social networking and communication device aimed at 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. The devices also lacked popular features like 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 yet important moment in smartphone history.

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