In another review, Anand wrote some words that I can't get out in my head because they're so true: "Apple has started a trend of companies spending entirely too much on packaging." Truer words haven't been spoken, but the KIN did have some of the most unique packaging I've ever seen. There's been some other memorable packaging out there, including the 'Hacker Edition' N900 packaging which requires using terminal commands over serial to open the box.

The KIN packaging was different. It was hip, modern, and innovative. If nothing else, it shows that Microsoft can still get radically creative when it matters.

I'd like to point out that what's particularly odd about smartphone packaging is that - most of the time - you don't even get to unbox your own phone if you're purchasing it at a retail store. A carrier employee will take the phone out, activate it, and hand it to you. This has been the case for me at least with every phone I've ever purchased which was subsidized. Sometimes they'll ask you if you want to take it out of the box, but it's rare in my experience. Even though packaging isn't something the user frequently gets to dive into when buying at a store, it does set a first impression - which is likely why so much importance is afforded to it. But I digress.

The KIN came in colorful cardboard tubes with rubbery caps at top and bottom. The ONE comes in a white tube, while the TWO comes in a black one. The first impression the KIN packaging sets is that it's radically different - just like the phones themselves.  

Once you pop, the fun don't stop - oh wait...

Pop the top off the pringles, er... KIN can (there's a joke in there about a can-can waiting to be had), and there's a green felt pull tab and a cardboard holder. Pull on that, and out comes a tube wrapped with the same kind of elastic green felt.

Take that felt ring off, open the cardboard fold, and you've got the phone in an inset on one side, and instructions, cables, and power adapter on the other. The TWO has the same affair, except the inset is slightly larger to accomodate the taller form factor.

It was different, and it worked for the KIN. The devices weren't smartphones, weren't featurephones either - completely different packaging just made sense. Packaging is functional too however, and there's a reason most smartphone boxes are small and squarish. Squares have better packing density for transportation reasons. Cylinders - not as much. Microsoft made a bold choice going with a much larger than normal package that was flashy and different.

Microsoft's KIN is dead Form Factor - ONE: Original/Unique, TWO: Bland/Soulless
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  • Belard - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    MS Mobile was always... garbage. It did some NEAT things, badly. Nothing more.

    Everyone I know who used WindowsMobile or Blackberrys quickly went to iPhone when the iPhone came out and haven't looked back.

    Of course, Apple is screwed up with their attitude issues with the lated iPhone4. Bad design flaw.
  • aebiv - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    What did it do badly?

    And I've found the opposite, a lot who went to the iPhone and BB were annoyed at the lack of applications and flexibility in the platforms,so they went back to WinMo
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    I think it says something when the best feature of an OS is that it allows other stuff to be installed over it.

    Really, most people don't want to spend the extra money on a bunch of software just to get the OS to a functional state. And it still feels like what it is - a hacked together assembly of programs that have an uneasy truce amongst each other. Unless you need some of the enterprise integration available, there is no way I could recommend a WM 6.x phone to anyone.
  • aebiv - Thursday, July 15, 2010 - link

    And in the same line of thinking as that, calling the iPhone a smartphone is a joke. It is a glorified, and admittedly very well done top end feature phone.
  • kmmatney - Friday, July 16, 2010 - link

    Fist of all, saying the iPhone is not a smartphone is assinine. Second - Look at the scoreboard - WinMo 6 phones are losing ground for a very good reason - they just aren't as nice to use as the iPhone or Android. The battle has already been lost
  • aebiv - Saturday, July 17, 2010 - link

    Really? Was the first gen a smartphone? It couldn't even send MMS messages or multitask at all. My old dumb phones did more than it did.

    What have we added? Apps? Great... what does that do for me again? Can I do network packet sniffing? Can I use it as an IR remote for TV's and devices?

    I can't plug anything into the iPhone through USB host either on an iPhone.

    It is NOT a smartphone, it is a glorified, overpriced feature phone. The sad thing is, WP7 and Android 3.0 are heading down the same path.
  • Commodus - Saturday, July 17, 2010 - link

    Actually, you can use it as a remote. You need an adapter with a custom app, but it can be done.

    The iPhone is very much a smartphone. Just ask the enterprises using sales apps and juggling Exchange data. Ask the people using it as part of home automation systems.

    Yes, Apple could stand to loosen its app guidelines, but the very definition of a smartphone is one that focuses heavily on functions beyond making calls and receiving text messages, especially if it has robust apps. If anything, Windows Mobile is feeling less and less like a smartphone OS every day, as there are far fewer apps for it now than iOS (and likely Android too) and a narrower range.

    It's no longer 2002. We'd like you to join us in an era where you don't need a stylus to make up for bad UIs and bad touchscreens, where you're allowed to have fun on your phone, and where the web is an important part of life, not an afterthought (as it clearly is with Internet Explorer Mobile).
  • aebiv - Sunday, July 18, 2010 - link

    Yes, we're improving the UI, that is for certain.

    However, there are somethings such as RDP and signatures that will never be "finger friendly" so why are we in such a rush to be complete rid of the stylus?

    The iPhone has had exchange issues both in synchronization with the latest phone, and with the first couple generations in "faking" the security policy enforcement for exchange.

    Can I push out apps and security policies to an iPhone from a central location? No. Can I use it as a messaging device? By all means.

    Yes, Apple has a lot of apps out there, but so many of them are worthless IMHO, Android is doing a bit better with that I'll admit, but they still don't have a great GPS application.

    I don't understand how you mean there are far fewer apps for WinMo, as virtually all the old ones still work and are still around, and new ones are still being made. One only has to look at Omarket or the XDA application to see all the new apps out for it.

    Question though, the iPhone still doesn't allow for network diag tools like packet capture and such right?
  • nangryo - Sunday, July 18, 2010 - link

    That's why you need to wake up and get out of your distorted reality dream ok.
  • aebiv - Sunday, July 18, 2010 - link

    Why do you hate someone who has different needs for a mobile phone OS so much?

    Are you really that insecure that everyone has to use what you use?

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