Andy Rubin is known by many as “the father of Android”, or the creator of the Essential Phone and has many “scandals”. However, you may not know that, besides Essential, Andy Rubin also founded another company, Danger Hiptop, and the company created the Sidekick for T-Mobile. This was before Rubin created Android Inc. and later acquired by Google.
A few years after Rubin’s departure from Danger, a company adopted by Microsoft, the software giant has also been looking for the next big smartphone operating system since Windows Mobile died out.
The result was Kin series, which started with Kin One and Kin Two, both released in April 2010. Actually, Kin started before Microsoft bought Danger, as “Project Pink”, but Microsoft was in a hurry to spend $ 500 million in 2008 to get Danger and speed things up.
Kins was the “Windows phone”, before even the Windows Phone operating system (November 2010). Instead, they are based on Windows CE, which is also the core of Windows Mobile. However, the user interface was completely rebuilt by borrowing heavily from Zune.
Microsoft is targeting young users – both of the Kin are focused on messaging and social media. Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, … all have. It’s a much-needed new start as Windows Mobile has always looked like the Windows 95 mini and is often thought of as the pocket computers used by serious business people.
Kin OS shows similarities with what will become Windows Phone. The home screen is based on tiles and looks like a prototype of Metro UI. Contacts and messages from different platforms are aggregated similarly in Loop, like People Hub on WP7.
Another cool feature is Spot. You can drag anything into the small green circle, be it photos, videos, web pages, etc., choose a contact, and the phone sends a message or email.
Best of all, Kin Studio, your photos, videos and even your messages will sync with the cloud so you can access them through your desktop browser. The site even has Spot, so you can share anything from there.
Kin One and Two are powered by the original Nvidia Tegra chipset clocked at 600 MHz. You might think that Windows CE will work fine on that chip. However, the new interface is more modern and has high-end graphics that the chipset cannot match.
Kin OS is a flawed operating system. It lacks an app store or any other means of running third-party apps. This is essential because the phone does not have some essential applications, such as a calendar application. There’s no instant messaging or spelling correction and that’s ridiculous because …
Kin targets teenagers and young adults – you know, people who prefer texting rather than talking on the phone. Therefore, Kin has a sliding QWERTY keyboard. Kin One slid vertically while the Two turned to landscape orientation.
You can see the similarities between Danger Hiptop and Kin Two. Not too surprisingly Sharp built the hardware for both. But the two devices also share DNA with the T-Mobile G1, the first Android. That’s Danger’s legacy.
To say that the launch of Microsoft Kin is not going well is an understatement. Disaster is more true. The phones were discontinued after only 48 days. Yes, they didn’t exist for two months before Microsoft and Verizon died.
Verizon once sold Kin One for $ 20 and the Two for $ 50. Too cheap, right? There is a confusing point – the carrier requires the buyer to purchase an additional $ 30 a month unlimited data plan, and that is too much of the target for these two machines.
Microsoft was dissatisfied and some said that this is why Verizon was not chosen as a launch partner for Windows Phone.
After killing Kin in June 2010, Verizon brought them back in November of that same year. Technically, these are Kin ONEm and TWOm (“m” for “multimedia”) and they are not smartphones.
And since the data plan was a major part of the previous Kin’s failure, the carrier decided to ditch the social media integration and limit Zune Pass music playback over Wi-Fi only. Basically, every feature that required a lot of mobile data was removed. At least the “m” phone has a calendar and a calculator app.
It’s easy to see that m can never be successful. They lasted a bit longer than the original Kin though – the inevitable end came in late August 2011 when Verizon killed Kin for the second time.