CNET reports that Microsoft’s ill-conceived initiative to deliver a “social phone” in the form of the Microsoft Kin has been axed. Citing poor sales, Microsoft is halting future development on the phone less than two months since the device first hit store shelves. As a result, a planned European launch for the Kin will not commence as was initially planned.
The Kin was positioned as a phone for teenagers, but lackluster and arguably pointless features, coupled with an inexplicably high contract, resulted in sales that came in below 10,000 units. Put simply, the Kin was a device that adults thought kids would find cool. And those adults were engineers at Microsoft, no less.
While the Kin does let users store their photos and videos up in the cloud, the touted “killer feature” of the Kin was its ability to let users aggregate all of their social content from sites like Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace right onto their homescreen. Talk about a jumbled mess, especially when you factor in the Kin’s diminutive screen real estate. It’s as if the folks at Microsoft were so hell bent on integrating services like Twitter and Facebook that they never stopped, for even a second, to think about how people actually use those services. Not to beat a dead horse here, but the success of the iPhone underscores the idea that a intuitive user experience trounces lazily assembled features any day of the week.
Moreover, the UI, in addition to being clumsy, had an ever-present green dot positioned at the bottom of the screen to which users could drag all types of content (photos, videos, status updates) and subsequently share it with their social networks. Umm, yeah.
Take a look at the Kin unveiling from a few months back – Is it really all that surprising that it was a total flop?