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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  • 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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