Microsoft Dumps The Kin, Turns Out It Was Insane Thinking

Microsoft has all but pulled the pin on its “Kin” social phone today, after reports suggested it had only managed to sell 500 units of the crippled phone since it launched in May.

The Kin, for those of you unaware of the product (and given the sales figures, most people reading this) was a locked down phone focused on social connections targeted at Generation Z, with a strong focused on apps such as Twitter and Facebook. Its perhaps only claim to fame was allegations that the advertising campaign behind the phone promoted sexting among teens.

When the phone was first announced, I wrote this at the time:

Microsoft may have done its research in its desired target market, but the logic of offering what is a locked phone in the age of smart phones and applications is either insane or inspired thinking. The Kin does not allow third-party apps to be built on them, immediately limiting the phones appeal. As such it is also locked out of the Windows phone app marketplace as well…the logic of which escapes me in the current market for phones.

I’m not the targeted audience, so maybe I don’t get it. I suspect though that Microsoft may be underestimating the intelligence of its desired audience, an audience that is increasingly being exposed to smart phones with apps, and likes that.

The Kin doesn’t completely die (yet,) but the Microsoft’s Kin product unit is being rolled into the Windows 7 mobile unit instead. Existing customers will continue to be supported, and the phone will remain on sale at Verizon for the immediate future, but with the product team gone, we’d guess it won’t be for long.