The Forgotten Battle for Smartphone Supremacy: Microsoft’s Windows Kin and Its Impact on the Mobile Industry

Kin: Microsoft’s answer to the latest iPhone and Android smartphones in 2008

Microsoft, in response to the arrival of iOS and Android operating systems, developed the Windows Kin. Although this product was largely forgotten, it marked a significant moment in the competition between Apple, Google, Samsung and other smartphone brands. Microsoft had been producing mobile devices for several years prior to this launch, with Windows Phone being their flagship product. However, in order to stay relevant in the face of increasing competition, changes were necessary.

The development of Windows Kin caused internal tension within Bill Gates’ company. The line of mobile devices already included Windows Mobile, but new visions for the company’s future in smartphones emerged. James Allard led Project Pink independently of Andy Lees’ work on Windows Phone. Eventually, Andy Lees won the internal battle and took charge of the project. In April 2010, Microsoft Kin was officially presented to the public with a focus on social networks and communication. The marketing campaign faced criticism for promoting questionable behaviors. The Kin ONE and Kin TWO devices were launched shortly thereafter, both featuring capacitive touch panels, cameras and a sliding QWERTY keyboard. However, the operating system lacked an app store, games calendar app synchronization with Outlook and instant messaging apps

Sophia Reynolds

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