When Verizon first sent me the ONE and TWO for review, I setup both KIN on the same Live account. Much like Android’s dependency on you having a Google account for backing up a list of installed applications, Microsoft used its Live service with the KIN for total device backups and creating a complete user profile. I figured it’d just work fine to have both devices on one account.

It didn't. That was very, very bad.

I don’t think anyone at Microsoft ever expected anyone to have two of those phones at the same time. After last week’s announcement, it looks like Microsoft had even lower expectations for KIN acceptance.

While the premature death of the platform isn’t really a shock (the phones had glaring issues and ran an OS that clearly had no roadmap in a Windows Phone 7 dominated future), there were some key features Microsoft and its Danger team did better than anyone else in the smartphone market today.

Even when Palm’s future looked bleak, there were and still are elements of WebOS that we hope will someday appear in Android or iOS. The same can be said about what Microsoft did with KIN. It’s true that as a device defying categorization as either a smartphone or featurephone, KIN wasn’t around long enough to be remembered, but as a platform there are things KIN gave us that we shouldn’t forget.

What follows is an exploration of just that.

We hope that this will serve as a list of the things Microsoft did right with KIN, so that we might see these features in future smartphone platforms - including Microsoft's Windows Phone 7. We realize that although it's still selling, KIN is unquestionably dead. With any luck, Microsoft and Verizon will roll out one promised software update, and then let the short lived platform ride off into oblivion. Though this is a platform you'll likely never encounter in the real world (I know I've yet to), there's quite a bit that could still be salvaged, including one truly revolutionary feature unrivaled by any competitor today.

KINcredible Packaging
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  • brokensoul - Thursday, July 15, 2010 - link

    One thing people seem to forget (too...), is the constant sync on android devices with your google services (mails, talk,...), along for most devices with a sync with facebook, flickr and twitter. The iPhone doesn't come close to that (even with the last iOS4), and WM is a laugh in that perspective. Deactivate those syncing (or slow them down), and android devices last much longer, easily one day and a half for my legend.
  • notposting - Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - link

    The Motorola Devour had that Sidekick form factor as well, really liked it quite a bit.

    I had it for about a month and a half...the keyboard on it, the general build quality, most everything about it was phenomenal, except for:

    the shitty camera--3MP supposedly, no flash, no auto-focus, just crap.
    lousy reception--the reason I traded it in for a Droid

    of course it still hasn't been rooted (or updated past 1.6) so that's pretty disappointing as well. And it looks like Motorola is hellbent on locking down their new phones to completely take the mod/hack/customizing communities out of play.
  • mcnabney - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    The metal case and internal antenna really hurt the Devour. Running a slow chip and old Android OS didn't help either.
  • DigitalFreak - Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - link

    Android has captured the market for "open" phones (i.e.: open app store, etc.). Apple has the fanboy and zealot market cornered. I can't see very many people choosing WP7 over either of those two.
  • FATCamaro - Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - link

    The arstechnica article from a week or two ago is far better on the topic. This article is written from a fanboy perspective and ignores reality completely. The reality of MS essentially killing Danger after buying them for a few hundred million.
  • Stuka87 - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    I had the same feeling. This article is missing a lot of details, which isn't the norm for this site.
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    What, a fanboi of a disappearing OS? I personally didn't feel all the internal microsoft bickering had to be included here (it is documented elsewhere) and instead this article was written from a perspective of "Is there anything positive to pull out of this?" And I thought it did that well instead of focusing on the specifics of the phones as not many will be buying them anyway.
  • inspire - Friday, July 16, 2010 - link

    So an article about the phone and its features, pros, and cons, but sans-drama is fanboyish? Ars always finds a way to inject drama. All their self-righteous treaties on the ethics of video game reviews, and such.

    The article is titled 'a eulogy'. If you want the TMZ version - stick with Ars.
  • s1ugh34d - Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - link

    WinMo really does take all those points, and put them in a more business approached user interface, while taking notes from classic IT user requirements.

    My TyTn II definitely does everything the KIN, iOS, WebOS, and android phones can, just it's been able to since before them...

    Now I can't say it has the flare, GUI or app style. The Microsoft app store is the worst software I ever thought to install. The graphics are something HTC has been holding back forever. Otherwise functionality speaking, I can do anything you can do, just it may take me a day to figure it out.

    What it comes down to is what YOU do. I read about 75 RSS feeds daily(long commute.) I also listen to Pandora the whole time. Meanwhile between my feed reader, the browser or browsers I may be running, Pandora, and typically word/excel/foxit, I still make it 5-8 hours constant usage(which translates into a day adding in time I actually have to do stuff IRL) oh and Wifi is on for at least three of those hours.

    I upload pictures directly after taking them via email, which is one click from the after-shot menu. Facebook conveniently is on my homescreen(I don't use the other sites so much) as well as my favorite feature, contacts stay as is, until I open them click, the Facebook link, and from the UI I can pick any info I want synced.

    Wifi syncing on Activesuck, works(only because there isn't any good open source alternative.) and Google sync keeps my online calendar up to date with stuff I have to do, as well as backs up my contacts. Since I don't text(yea smartphone user so long I've replaced SMS with POP...)backing up messages is my gmail. Plus my backup for microSD is Wifi at home(yea networking try that iOS and android playaz) When I connect to my network, bam my SD is ghosted(as real files) and sync occurs with my file server.

    I like the KIN's web app. I really hope that transfers into the WP7 features. Danger definitely had something going for them, hope M$ uses a few hint from there world. The Dell mini 5 is on my next list, but the HD2 is my very next.
  • Darth_Bob - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    I would have to agree to a certain point. I have a LG Incite, Winmo 6.1. I havent seen enough from Android or iOS to switch yet. Ive been multi-tasking for well over a year, can go 2 days without charging with moderate use. I can VPN to my home network via Hamachi, use remote desktop to connect to any computer on the network.
    Have had SPB Mobile Shell since 3.0.1, recently updated to 3.5.5 - great features, totally customizable UI.
    WinMo was really great for the IT/professional aspect, but not so great for the average consumer aspect - which is where the money is.
    Although I have AT&T, that HD2 is next on my list as well, as soon as my contract is up (shortly).
    As for the KIN, they were aiming for a demographic already covered. Im surprised someone OK'd the release.

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