Microsoft waves bye-bye to Kin phones

Well that didn’t take long. Less than two months after their introduction, Microsoft has pulled the plug on the two Kin phones that were supposed to make the company hip and relevant in mobile. I reckon that’s what happens when you throw a party and nobody attends. Microsoft will now focus on its next of kin, the redesigned Windows Phone 7 devices that are slated to appear before the end of the year.

The Kin handsets played completely against type: Unlike Microsoft’s aging Windows Mobile franchise, the Kins were neither staid nor corporate. They included Zune music players, automatic backup of nearly everything you did (texts, photos, call history) and were targeted at youthful customers for whom being social is almost everything.

Actually, the clever “cloud-based” backup feature—what was called Microsoft Studio–was the best thing about the Kins. My feelings otherwise were decidedly mixed. Among other flaws, Kins lacked third party apps, had no calendar (how social could they be without one?) and weren’t all that easy to use.

Here’s hoping Microsoft will include some variation of the Studio backup with the Windows Phone 7 devices that are Microsoft’s next great hope in mobile.

Indeed, Microsoft has major hurdles ahead in mobile. Though I like what I’ve seen in early demos of Windows Phone 7 devices, time is a wasting, given piping hot competition from Google Android, RIM BlackBerry and the iPhone.

In the official statement announcing Kin’s demise, Microsoft said: “We have made the decision to focus on the Windows Phone 7 launch and will not ship Kin in Europe this fall as planned. Additionally, we are integrating our Kin team with the Windows Phone 7 team, incorporating valuable ideas and technologies from Kin into future Windows Phone releases. We will continue to work with Verizon Wireless in the U.S. to sell current Kin phones.”

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