The Kin: Poor Sales? Seems to me this was all Microsoft.

It seems that after doing some initial work on these phones based around Danger’s proprietary Sidekick OS, Andy Lees — the SVP of Microsoft’s mobile division — instructed everyone to go back to the drawing board and rebuild the OS based on Windows CE. It appears the company didn’t want a project that wasn’t directly connected to its Windows kernel. This move allegedly set the release of the devices back 18 months, during which time Redmond’s carrier partner [Verizon] became increasingly frustrated with the delays. Apparently when it came time to actually bring the Kins to market, Big Red had soured on the deal altogether and was no longer planning to offer the bargain-basement pricing deals it first had tendered. The rest, as they say, is history — though we don’t think even great prices could have accounted for what was fundamentally a flawed product.

No company with a serious strategy and belief in a product kills it just seven weeks after launch, no matter how poorly it initially sells. A smart company might hold the line a little longer, spin a press release, or maybe tweak their strategy.

But this was Microsoft:

  • It’s just like Microsoft to decide the Kin must be Windows-based, and ignore the IP they’d bought in Danger.
  • It’s just like Microsoft to not understand an 18-month delay is poison in the mobile market. This isn’t Windows or Office, where customers feel there’s nowhere else to go.
  • It’s just like Microsoft for various teams to pull in different directions; even now there’s only talk of unifying their mobile efforts.
  • It’s just like Microsoft to write off tens of millions of dollars spent on the project so quickly because, well, they figure they can afford it.

This product should never have been released. It’s clear many in power were ready to kill it—at a moment’s notice and with little reason—without even the appearance of trying to make a go of it. Yet for all those who could agree to kill it so soon after launch, they hadn’t the guts (or sense, take your pick) to kill it beforehand. 

On top of that, Microsoft angered Verizon, the US carrier with no love for Apple since they can’t sell the iPhone. A decent Windows Phone 7 on Verizon might have made a good team against the iPhone/AT&T, but instead they’re barely speaking, with Microsoft saying they’re releasing WP7 phones on GSM first. 

The Microsoft Kin should have been another Palm Foleo, an idea that got too far internally, but cooler heads prevailed and avoided the embarrassment of a launch. Sure, Palm was kicked around a little for announcing a product they didn’t deliver, but it’s nothing compared to the critique Microsoft deserves for wasting years of time, resources, and money for a seven-week stint to prove they’re still clueless in the mobile sector.

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AT&T: Some of our users still like us, let’s fix that.

AT&T… said it would raise the early termination fee on smartphones — including the iPhone — to $325 from $175 as of June 1.

When AT&T appeared not to follow Verizon’s lead in jacking up ETFs I was hopeful. But now they’re doing it, and including the one phone that single-handedly saved their asses by keeping them in the game, yet for which they still don’t allow tethering. Morons.

I’m sure Apple is terrified

We’re looking at all the things Google has in its archives that we could put on a tablet to make it a great experience

The quote makes it sound like they’re rooting through Google’s dumpsters to bolt on whatever they find.

Good luck to them, but one is a wireless carrier, and the other an ad firm. Shouldn’t they get some hardware people involved before they decide what they’re going to build?

I’m sure Apple is terrified

We’re looking at all the things Google has in its archives that we could put on a tablet to make it a great experience

The quote makes it sound like they’re rooting through Google’s dumpsters to bolt on whatever they find.

Good luck to them, but one is a wireless carrier, and the other an ad firm. Shouldn’t they get some hardware people involved before they decide what they’re going to build?

Dear Verizon and Sprint Customers: Welcome to Hell

The Bold 9650 is the successor to the BlackBerry Tour that is currently on Verizon and Sprint. It adds Wi-Fi and RIM’s new optical track pad, which has been seen on newer BlackBerrys, like the Bold2 and Curve 8520.

I’ve been using the Bold 9700 (aka the Bold2) for over a month. It’s crap. Yes, I know it’s RIM’s flagship QWERTY model — and even better than what they announced for Verizon and Sprint — but it’s still crap.

Honestly, in the age of modern smartphones (iPhone, Nexus One, Droid, Palm Pre, etc.) it’s hard to imagine anything as out of place as a Blackberry. It’s like buying a brand new PC with Windows 98 on it.

iPhone On Verizon? I Think The WSJ Jumped The Gun.

With Apple developing a phone with CDMA capability, its exclusive U.S. arrangement with AT&T dating to 2007 appears set to end.

First of all, they say it like it’s fact, when all they have is a source said to be “briefed by the company”. Hmm, yes, those sources are always accurate.

In addition, even if Apple is working on a CDMA-based phone, it’s just as likely a TD-SCDMA phone for China as one for Verizon in the US. Verizon’s 80M customers pale next to China Mobile’s 500M.

Palm Could Sell Phones For An Entire Quarter Off Carrier Backlog Alone

The company shipped 960,000 smart phones to stores and distributors in the quarter that ended Feb. 26, 23 percent more than in the previous quarter. However, the number of phones that were actually bought by consumers was 408,000

The bad news isn’t that Palm only sold 408,000 phones (well, that’s actually horrible news, but nothing compared to what’s next). No, the bad news is that a backlog 552,000 shipped phones is sitting on carriers’ shelves.

Think about it. Though trending downward, let’s imagine Palm has 10% better unit sales in the coming quarter than the one just passed. They’d still have 100,000 phones in inventory without having shipped a single phone in the quarter.

Ouch.