14 Comments

Summary:

Microsoft is gearing up for the launch of its new mobile platform, Windows Phone 7. The appearance of WP7 to the failed Kin OS is similar, so there is a concern the recent failure will have a negative impact on the new platform launching soon.

WP7

Microsoft is gearing up for the launch of its new mobile platform, Windows Phone 7, and reception of early prototypes running the new OS have been largely positive. Some have noted the similarity in appearance of Windows Phone 7 to the failed Kin OS, however, so there is a real concern that the recent failure will have a negative impact on the new platform launching later this year.

I have been reading every review of the early Windows Phone 7 OS, and I am excited by what I see. Microsoft has taken a totally new angle to the interface, and most comments are positive about the end result. This is good news, as Microsoft needs a solid base to move forward in the mobile space.

Unfortunately, the total failure of the Kin effort (sub. req’d) may come to bite WP7. While the Kin OS is different than WP7, the public perception may equate the two due to the somewhat similar appearance of the interfaces. Both have tiles on the phone screen that are used to access different features of the phone. The WP7 interface is cleaner and offers a much broader user interaction with the phone’s functions than the Kin, but the slight similarity with the Kin may cause confusion in the market.

Microsoft ran a big TV campaign in the U.S. for the Kin, yet the launch failed miserably enough that the company pulled the plug in just six weeks. Verizon, the launch partner for the Kin, followed suit and shortly after the product was killed. That marketing campaign may be the very thing that brings confusion to the consumer for WP7 when it launches. Consumers have many traits, but one thing is for sure, they have long memories.

Image credit: Engadget

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  1. It may not matter or may be hard to tell as I believe MS is too late to the game with too little to offer. They really needed to go beyond catch-up, which they haven’t done (apps!) and knock our socks off. The phone is a lesser part of the equation as the ecosystem that goes with it seems to be the driver these days.

    I’m not discounting MS entirely as they could possibly motivate devs to work with their platform, but most articles I’ve read have stated that all MS initiatives on this front have been met with half-empty conference halls and lukewarm reception. The worst thing that can happen to a company is to have nobody even care about what they are doing.

  2. I don’t see how the Kin could affect the WP 7 devices at all. For three main reasons:

    NO ONE BOUGHT THE KIN :)
    The Kin was Verizon only (WP 7 will have AT&T as it’s main launch provider) and as far as I recall barely if at all did it mention Microsoft.
    Kinda related to both 1 and 2 – No one shopping at AT&T for a phone is going to remember a commercial for a Verizon product that they never considered buying in the first place. They definitely aren’t going to look at the interface and think it looks familiar.

    Kin was a total failure for many reasons. Verizon and Microsoft share a lot of blame for them. But I think speculating that its failure could somehow affect WP 7 is quite a stretch. Very little similarities really.

  3. Form factor of the physical device killed the Kin, not the OS ( D’uh! ).

  4. The terrible marketing for the Kin may have prevented its failure from tarnishing WP7. The commercials were so awful that I tuned out before the announcer got past “visiting her social network in person.” Despite hearing them incessantly, my mind never made the conscious connection that Kin was a Microsoft phone until the sales figures got coverage. I wrote it off as another tween-centric Sidekick ripoff.

  5. Nobody knows what the Kin is or was. Windows 7 Phone or whatever they are calling it this week can embarrass Microsoft all on its own.

  6. I don’t think Kin will be a problem for WP7. For one thing, Kin was barely associated with the Microsoft name, unlike “Windows Phone”, so most people won’t even connect the two. And it’s not like millions got burned by Kin, having a bad experience with them; hardly anyone bought them at all.

    The major problems of Kin — not a SmartPhone (no apps, not expandable), but costing the same as one for the service — won’t be a problem for WP7. And on the hardware side, WP7 will have many more options than just the two that Kin had. (Apparently I’m the only one who really liked the Kin One form-factor…)

    I think Microsoft will borrow the best ideas from Kin and put them into WP7 in some fashion.

  7. Not just a slight similarity between WP7 and Kin.

    Microsoft was once promoting Windows Phone 7 as being the “cousin” of Kin. Look back through the earlier press reports. You’ll see Microsoft’s quote there.

    Windows Phone 7 will suffer the same fate as Kin. Lacking features compared to what the competition has, yet charging just as much as other high-end phones.

  8. @Duskrider

    I’m curious as to where you are reading all these article about half empty conference halls. MS claims that the sdk has been downloaded 200,000 times and that they can’t fill dev phone demand. Hopefully the SEC will take them to task when we find that there really wasn’t any interest in developing for the platform.

    1. @Pastco – I have no idea anymore, except that I know one article was on Techradar. It was mentioned as part of reviews and such in other articles though.

      On the other hand, developer interest would naturally be low at this point in time (comparatively) as there is nothing much to develop for with the phone not even being out yet. MS now gets to deal with the problem of “need apps to make the phone successful, but can’t get app devs interested unless the phone is successful” that everyone else starts out dealing with. While this isn’t a foreign concept for MS, it has been a lot of years since they were so fully in this position. So, other than devs that want to be first out of the gate, the rest will take somewhat of a wait and see attitude.

      I doubt that the SEC will have anything to do with this, especially this early in the game.

  9. I have not spent a whole lot of time looking at WP7 but the videos (http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/windowsphone/videoGallery.aspx) I have seen reminded of Kin with a great emphasis on Social Networking. I did not see an example of Browser or game or app.

    If not other things, Microsoft may want to change the messaging.

  10. @PASTCO Well you can make that 200,000 – 1 developers. I downloaded the SDK just to kick around the simulator.

    My answer to James: can you hurt something that is already DOA? :-)

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