Will the Kin Hurt Windows Phone 7?

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

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): Are You Empowering Your Mobile Work Force?

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