It looks more like a move by Verizon to get rid of excess stock than a phoenix strategy from Microsoft: The operator is apparently getting ready to re-release the KIN product line — the Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) devices that launched this summer with fanfare but were pulled from the market about six weeks after they came out, after dismal sales and reviews.
One of the big issues when the Kin was priced and marketed like a smartphone but was missing a lot of the functionality of one: no apps and no games, for example, which was a disaster considering that the devices were being aimed at younger people.
Perhaps to better manage expectations, it is clearly labeled as a “feature phone” on Verizon’s product roadmap for Q4. An image of the roadmap can be seen on PPCGeeks, which first reported the news.
Engadget is reporting the new phones will now be unbundled from data services. Gone too is Loop, the home screen that was meant to be a social network in itself. Buyers will still have access to the music service Zune Pass over WiFi, even if you end up getting the phone without a data plan.