There were two faces of the KIN. The ONE, a rounded yet squarish device with a 2.6" (66.04 mm) screen, and the TWO, which was a landscape slider with a 3.4" (86.36 mm) screen.

Forget the TWO, if the KIN were on your must have list, the device to have was the ONE.

Having carried both for over a month, there's no doubt in my mind that that if the KIN was a couple, the ONE was the much much better half. Form factor wise, it was different enough to be cool, and that at-first awkward square shape turned out to be what set it apart from every other device I've encountered. It was small, compact, and fresh. If you've played with a Palm Pre, the ONE is like a miniature, more square version with matte plastic. It's curvy but squarish, and there's a nice filleted edge on the back, so it rests in your palm naturally. My girlfriend took to calling it a tamagotchi - honestly, I don't think it's far from the mark. In a good way.

The 3.x" screen form factor slate is everywhere these days. In fact, it seems to be an Android and iOS mainstay to keep that form factor of devices in our pockets on into the future. It works, it's tried and true, but you know what? It's getting boring, fast. The Palm Pre was exciting because it was different and new - I just got that same vibe with the KIN ONE.

The KIN TWO was soulless, unfortunately. It looked and feelt like a bland attempt at making a landscape slider, just for the sake of having one in the lineup. It's a form factor that's been done better so many times by so many other manufacturers, that anything but perfect execution stands out - which is why the TWO felt so generic.

I originally suspected the TWO would be my favorite because of its spacious landscape keyboard, which would make it the better device for SMS. To my surprise, I found the ONE just as easy if not easier to type on. In fact, even though the TWO had a larger screen, 8 megapixel camera, and recorded 720p video, I'd gladly sacrifice any of those features for a smaller device that feels different like the ONE. The ONE actually felt occasionally faster too, no doubt thanks in part to the smaller display resolution bring rendered.

Until we get foldable displays or roll out screens, the 3.x" slate form factor smartphone will rule. The Sidekicks had some of the most radical form factors in the smartphone business, so it was depressing to see something as generic as the TWO being the result of so much of that talent. That said, the ONE was a unique form factor that felt just right for the KIN platform.

KINcredible Packaging Shocking battery life
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  • Brentcsi101 - Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - link

    someone saying "Droid X" anyone?? But come on... between Android and iOS, there is nothing right now that can compete with them.
  • Diesel Donkey - Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - link

    You must have never used a Palm Pre or Pixi.
  • mrjminer - Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - link

    Yea, I was going to get a Palm Pre... but the cost of the required plan was far more than what I'm willing to spend for a cell phone. I ended up going on Craigslist and getting someone to transfer their SERO plan over to me for $75. Can't really beat $35 a month (after taxes) for 450 minutes, unlimited texting, and unlimited data -- I can deal with using a Palm Treo Pro in the meantime.

    As for the Kin, I really like the form factor of the smaller one. However, it will be tough to decide between WebOS and Windows 7 Mobile, assuming HP actually continues development on WebOS.
  • Stuka87 - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    Why would anybody buy a phone from a company that no longer exist?
  • mrjminer - Thursday, July 15, 2010 - link

    ..... "assuming HP actually continues development on WebOS."
  • inspire - Friday, July 16, 2010 - link

    Palm exists today just as much as Mobil does.
  • mcnabney - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    The WebOS devices have fallen into the same category as the Kin. A nice try, but too little and too late. If the Pre had come out on schedule (two years ago!) they would have kept in the race and likely not have been acquired by HP.
  • aebiv - Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - link

    Amazing how everyone is so quick to forget the most flexible and powerful mobile OS, Windows Mobile. Yes, Android comes close, but the roadmap for 3.0 doesn't look good locking down the UI more. Battery life? Why is it my HD2 with a smaller battery gets better battery life than the EVO? They're virtually the same phone hardware wise, just a difference in mobile OS.
  • sprockkets - Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - link

    "Amazing how everyone is so quick to forget the most flexible and powerful mobile OS, Windows Mobile."

    We forgot about it when the iphone and even others at the time made us realize how horrible it was to use.

    Only thing keeping WM alive before ver 7 is HTC and their skin.
  • aebiv - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    Horrible it was to use?

    How was it horrible?

    Quit making generalizations and give some points.

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