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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  • aebiv - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    HD2 is a great device except for the capacitive screen. The resistive is far more accurate.
  • 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.
  • jonup - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    Kids need educated from their parents not parental control. What's with the control obsession of today's society!? These people think they are liberal because they equate freedom with gun rights. Give me a brake!

    Two thumbs up for lack of parental control!
  • Finally - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    "A brake"?
    That's what those parents give their kids, alright. :)
  • jabber - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    The best way to get kids to 'NOT' go looking, is to not tell them not to.

    You tell a kid not to touch something you can bet as soon as your back is turned they'll touch it..probably with bad results.

    My folks would let me examine most dangerous things (hedge trimmers/knives etc.) while they watched me to make sure nothing bad happend. I'd pick them up then realise there was nothing interesting about them and then put them down and carry on playing.

    My parents always had a full booze cabinet (for parties etc.) and never forbid me from drinking as a kid. In fact they encouraged me to drink a small glass of wine or a beer at a special occasion as a small kid. Because of that I was never interested in breaking into the drinks cabinet as a teen and getting slaughtered like a lot of my buddies did that had never been allowed. It was always there for the taking. Whats fun in that?

    Forbidden things are what kids want. Dont make them forbidden and they wont be quite so interesting.
  • SimKill - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    Heh, sounds a lot like mine :P

    If anything, they'd say, "Do it and see" and I'd lose all enthusiasm and excitement for it, be it drinking or anything. No fun at all when nobody cares if you do it or not :P

    Seems my parents understood that psychology very well and used it on me. [I still hate beer/any other alcohol]
  • jabber - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    ......I was a bit dissapointed that the KIN was killed off so soon.

    I really wanted a KIN One as I too felt it was a great looking phone. I hate the current smartphones with touchscreens and such.

    The KIN One was 'different' and with a bit more development could have offered another way.

    Oh well back to the sheeple phones.
  • Penti - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    It was worthless, not at all building on the Danger heritage, a totally failed acquisition with all the people fleeing danger/Microsoft leaving them with nothing and the former owner with 500 million :)

    It didn't even have IM features something that was Hiptops main selling point, it didn't build on T-mobiles brand, it didn't even act like a continuum off that tech. It basically failed at being a 50 dollar featurephone. Building on Win CE would be fine, but without an SDK at all, without a common toolkit and framework/API or a way to install apps easily it's just useless. Lots of other misses too.

    Like look at Nokia now, they use the QT toolkit for both Symbian and MeeGo devices from now on. Making it easy to get your apps to any phone, even if it's third parties building Symbian and MeeGo phones (Symbian is still used by the japanese makers in Japan). Any phone now days ofcourse also needs a web runtime/widget environment and SDK now days, the Symbian and MeeGo devices will share the same WRT widget SDK and soft.

    It's simply not going to work to have 10 different smart phone environments and 10 different development environments with 10 different frameworks and APIs. Which is basically Microsoft's problem now. .NET in all it's glory it won't make the game developers OpenGL ES based games work, they'll have to port to Microsofts OGL ES APIs, they'll have to port to the platform specific APIs, they will not port if they can't get their C/C++ game engines running on the platform. Nokia will have several hundreds of millions of phones running the same developing environment and framework. Microsoft won't even have the niche business products as they will move to custom devices with Win CE6/7 or even old WinMo. I don't think XNA/Silverlight under .NET is a good strategy here, it would have been 4-3 years ago. But why would anyone jump on it today? There best shoot is rather third party mobile development frameworks. Bada is going to have the same problem, but that's an OS supported by the second biggest phone maker. Is Microsoft moving out of the smartphone and consumer devices market? .NET is good, but doesn't the app makers want to reach as many devices as possible? They won't by making .NET mobile apps. Many apps will just come to the most popular platforms and for example Spotify is only released for iOS, Android and Symbian (Symbian C++, ones ported to QT it will of course come to MeeGo too). Apps like Spotify also preferably needs background tasks or real multitasking. Platforms like webOS can garner some development just because of it's former underdog status and technical enthusiasm. Microsoft will be a strictly business decision. Without having a good partner no one will care about the WP7 phones they'll put out. Development is everything. Just like nobody would have cared to put out some games on Android without the NDK. At least players like RIM have the enterprise customers (which they can loose quickly though.). Microsoft hasn't any more. Hoping for XNA/.NET C# games and game engines is probably too much.

    Well apps (and good built in features) is everything today. Too small platforms simply won't garner any attention and development. And nobody will develop for 10 different platforms (thus APIs) and several different programming languages. It would probably look something like development wise - Android SDK Java / NDK C/C++, iOS SDK Obj-C, Nokia qt SDK C++ for MeeGo and Symbian. Stuff like Brew will probably largely be ignored and stuff like LiMo will disappear or be largely compatible with Nokias environment. WP7 .NET/XNA/Silverlight SDK will probably be the odd one. Plug-in/Widget developers will have pretty identical environment on all platforms. C++ developers are probably pretty comfortable with both Symbian/MeeGo, Android NDK (you don't have a full compatible c-library there though), they could probably accept the Bada platform ones they get use to the API which is also in C++, as well as the WebOS platform. SDL should probably be runnable in at least Android, Symbian (maybe not natively), MeeGo and WebOS to top that. Java-developers have Android SDK and Blackberry SDK. With their respective APIs and VMs. .NET developers only has .NET compact framework on WinMo/WP7 or third party C# frameworks like Unity game engine which doesn't even target WinMo devices. .NET developers can target one platform, C++ developers can probably target 5 with just 4 APIs. Theres a whole lot of targets now days. I believe much more in Win CE7/Win embedded compact then in WP7 actually. Blackberry won't garner any consumer interest either. I'm unsure about Samsung's approach to release anything, every platform there is including its own too. They got Android, WinMo, Symbian, Bada etc. Nokias approach seems to make more sense. Good thing Motorola went with Android instead of its own though.
  • Stuka87 - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    Microsoft (or more directly, Terry Myerson ruined any chance the Kin had of being a success. And anybody that blows a half billion dollars into the wind should be fired.

    It was just one thing after another. From changing the phone's OS from Java (Original Sidekick OS) to Windows CE causing it to be delayed by 18 months, to its outrageous pricing. Whats sad is that Danger as a company no longer exist really, along with the people that lost their jobs. All because of Mr. Myerson.
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    One factor which might significantly hamper cloud integration is data caps. AT&T has already moved this way, and it seems unlikely the other carriers won't follow suit. Constantly streaming photos to and from the phone would take up significant additional bandwidth over what is already used for standard services. If they decide to back music or transferred movies up that would be much more a problem. I have ~4GB of music on my phone and wouldn't want to blow a significant chunk of my bandwidth having that all backed up off the SD card, or worse backed up then streamed back to me. Also, there are going to be times (on an airplane, in another country, etc) where you can't/don't want to have a data connection, if everything is in the cloud that significantly impacts the usability of the device for even basic tasks.

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