The return of the Kin: Microsoft’s Kin ONEm, TWOm hit Verizon Wireless

By on November 18, 2010 at 10:16 AM.

The return of the Kin: Microsoft’s Kin ONEm, TWOm hit Verizon Wireless

It looks like Microsoft’s banished Kin handsets have taken the long walk of shame back to Verizon Wireless. You may remember back in late-June, Microsoft lowered the ax on the two devices — the Kin ONE and Kin TWO — noting that its main focus going forward would be Windows Phone 7. Although exact sales figures were never released for the device, it was widely speculated that the pair’s required data plan of $29.99 (making the minimum monthly bill around $70) had a lot to do with the abridged shelf-life.

Fast forward to today, five months later, and the same two devices are back — with and extra letter tacked onto their names and fewer data-plan-prerequisites. The relaunched Kin ONEm and Kin TWOm will retail for $19.99 and $49.99 respectively with a signed two-year contract. The pair offer a choice of two data plans: $15 for 150MB per month and $30 for 5GB per month. Verizon’s site does mention that the $9.99, 25MB feature-phone data plan is available for the Kins, but we haven’t been able to successfully add it to either handset.

There you have it. The Kin is back and just in time for the holidays. More →

23 Comments

Will the Nexus Two be a Galaxy S refresh made by Samsung?

By on October 29, 2010 at 9:43 AM.

Will the Nexus Two be a Galaxy S refresh made by Samsung?

According to Gizmodo, yes. The blog is reporting that a “friend” of theirs actually got some hands-on time with the Samsung heir to the Nexus throne. The device, which is being referred to as the Nexus Two, was described as “black and shiny” with a 4-inch AMOLED display (we would assume Super AMOLED since it’s Samsung), front-facing camera, and roughly the same proportions as the current Galaxy S offerings in the U.S. (not including the Epic 4G). The “friend” also said the device’s software, which was a stock version of Android, was “very buggy.” We have to admit, the thought of Galaxy S hardware running an unmolested version of Android has piqued our interest. Samsung has a media event scheduled for November 8th where, most blogs agree, the company will announce their Continuum handset. Could this be Samsung’s equivalent of “one more thing?” We hope so.

UPDATE: PCMag’s Sascha Segan just posted an article of his own on the rumored device. The post had this to say on the matter: “The unnamed, unlocked Samsung phone is not coming out at an event on November 8, my sources said.” Although earlier in the post he did admit, “Samsung is working on an unlocked Android device that looks like the one in Gizmodo’s pictures. But it may not be called ‘Nexus Two.’”

Note: Above image is a mock-up. Image credit to Gizmodo. More →

39 Comments

Samsung Continuum gets pictured, dual display device headed to Verizon

By on September 30, 2010 at 12:12 PM.

Samsung Continuum gets pictured, dual display device headed to Verizon

What do we have here? It looks like the Galaxy S branded Samsung Continuum; a device with not one, but two displays. Engadget was sent in several images of the device whose most notable feature is an additional, smaller display below the standard Android soft-keys. The secondary display, which is being called the “ticker,” displays date, time, RSS feed, weather, and other pertinent information.  The ticker activates itself automatically when you grip the lower half of the Continuum. Pretty slick. The device is reported to have a side-mounted micro-SD card slot and dedicated camera button as well. We can see why Verizon started running the buy-one get-one promotion on the Fascinate just weeks after launch. More →

50 Comments

Microsoft kills the KIN, refuses to sell it in Europe

By on June 30, 2010 at 5:01 PM.

Microsoft kills the KIN, refuses to sell it in Europe

KIN

Apparently Microsoft has come to the realization that, much like the hipsters it was targeting with the device, no one wants to be caught dead with a KIN. Microsoft has confirmed that the two devices are toast. Here is what their PR people said.

We have made the decision to focus exclusively on Windows Phone 7 and we 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 in the U.S. to sell current KIN phones.”

Good riddance, we say. More →

92 Comments

Microsoft KIN TWO teardown reveals some surprises

By on May 18, 2010 at 7:30 PM.

Microsoft KIN TWO teardown reveals some surprises

kin-two-teardown

The fine folks iFixit have once again teamed up with Chipworks to tear down one of the greatest latest gadgets to hit the scene in the KIN TWO. Before you tune out and keep on scrolling, we should let you know that a lot of impressive stuff was uncovered after cracking the thing wide open. So without further ado, here’s a summary of what was found. The brains of the phone, a NVIDIA Tegra APX2600, are sandwiched together with memory in a four die, chip-on-chip package. The 8 megapixel IMX046 image sensor from Sony takes up only .5mm3 and has a pixel size of 1.4 micrometers. Other chips include a Qualcomm QSC8065 and a Texas Instruments WL1271A that takes care of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and the FM Radio. The digitizer is a Clearpad made by Synaptics, and the USB 2.0 transceiver is an incredibly tiny 4mm2. Pretty crazy to think that there’s so much advanced technology in a cheap featurephone, right? More →

33 Comments

Microsoft KIN Two Preview

By on May 5, 2010 at 12:01 AM.

Microsoft KIN Two Preview

Microsoft-KIN-Two-2

We’ve only been using the Microsoft KIN Two for about half a day. Even though that isn’t enough time to put a comprehensive review together, we can still comment on our initial reactions about the device.

The Microsoft KIN One and KIN Two are aimed at a non-professional crowd, mostly the young Justin Bieber generation. For phones in this category, they definitely do pack a punch. For starters, there is Microsoft Exchange support (no calendar support), an 8 megapixel camera with 720p video capture, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and all the social networking integration you could want. Microsoft actually is not very spec-heavy when pushing this device as they realize the specifications are almost irrelevant to the target buyer — and that’s smart.

The real issue is that we cannot remember a phone in recent memory that has felt so cheap and so clunky to use. Seriously. For some reason — and I am really not exaggerating here — I do not remember ever being so frustrated with a phone. It is slow and far from intuitive. There are feature phones that I would rather carry around with me. The one saving grace we thought the KIN had was that the data plans would be more economical than the traditional $30/month unlimited data packages. Well, we were wrong. The KIN Two goes for $99.99 on a two year contract after $100 MIR, but you still need that $30 data plan on top of your texting plan, on top of your voice plan (or family plan). I’m sorry, but I don’t see the advantage of a device this limited in this day and age, not with $100 Android devices, $100 iPhones, and $100 BlackBerry handsets (that all use the same $30/month data package). The concept is fine, but the execution is more a mashup of glitter, key lime pie, and a crappy stained glass window artist all thrown together under Sharp’s assembly lines.

Microsoft-KIN-Two-1

Yes, the added value stuff is cool — KIN Studio lets you see a historical archive of your entire phone, complete with text messages, photos and videos, and KIN Loop on the homepage is great in theory — but again, the execution here is the issue, and it reminds me of Motorola’s MOTOBLUR mess of a homescreen.

Going one step further, this device kind of spoiled my excitement for Windows Phone 7 — it is definitely not the same (though they do have the same base kernel), but it seems to be a little peak into that window, and from where I am standing, I don’t like the view. We have some photos ready to go in the gallery, plus the HTC Incredible makes a cameo for some size comparisons.

Click on over to our Microsoft KIN Two gallery!

44 Comments

Microsoft's Project Pink unveiling

By on April 12, 2010 at 1:12 PM.

Microsoft's Project Pink unveiling

KIN

Not even a whole two months removed from their announcing Windows Phone 7 Series, Microsoft is back today with another event in which it is expected to reveal its Project Pink line-up including the handsets known as the “Pure” and “Turtle”. Whether or not they’ll run WP7 or something else entirely isn’t clear, but all of this will soon be clear. As the event carries on we’ll be updating this post with the latest information, so be sure to check often lest you be left out of the loop. All of the goodness is after the jump. More →

66 Comments