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

Microsoft responded to the arrival of iOS and Android operating systems with the launch of the legendary HTC Dream in the first decade of the 21st century. However, instead of resting on their laurels, Microsoft developed the Microsoft Kin, a product that marked the initial struggle of new smartphones. A report from Xataka recalls this story, highlighting the competition between brands such as Apple, Google, and Samsung.

Microsoft had been producing mobile devices for several years before they decided to develop Windows Kin in response to increasing competition. The internal struggle within Bill Gates’ company was caused by changes necessary for them to stay relevant in the market. The company’s line of mobile devices already included Windows Mobile, but modifications were required.

By 2010, Microsoft was working on ‘Microsoft Pink’ or ‘Project Pink’ led by James Allard. This project was completely separate from Andy Lees’ work on Windows Phone. Both teams had different visions for the company’s future in smartphones, resulting in internal tension. Ultimately, Andy Lees won out and took charge of the Windows Kin 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 with features such as capacitive touch panels cameras and a sliding QWERTY keyboard. However, the operating system lacked an app store, games calendar app synchronization with Outlook instant messaging apps and a subpar keyboard design only around 500 units were sold at launch leading to its withdrawal from the market within a year.

Despite not being successful venture for Microsoft kin serves as reminder of rapidly changing landscape of smartphone industry during that time period

By Samantha Jones

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