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Review: Microsoft Kin TWOm / Kin Two

Posted December 02, 2010 12:00 AM by Kaplin

Verizon and Microsoft jointly announced the Kin One and Kin Two smartphones with a large marketing campaign on May 6th. Before the end of June, the devices were pulled from shelves do to very disappointing sales. The problem with these devices was that they were classified as smartphones that required expensive data packages, but didn't have the high-end features of the iPhone or Android handsets.

Fast-forward five months later and the phones have been rereleased by Verizon, this time dubbed the Kin ONEm and Kin TWOm (m is for modified). The rereleased phones are now marketed as "feature phones" without the required data packages. Debundling the Kins from the data plans was all it took to transform them from the worst smartphone to the best feature phone.

Data Services Off / WiFi On
The first thing you should do when opening your new Kin is to disable the data connection if you don't want extra charges showing up on your account. You can do this by logging onto the Verizon Wireless website. After logging in, click on Change Features, scroll to the bottom and click Service Locks. There will be an option to Block All Data Services. This will make sure you don't start racking up huge data fees on your account. Also in the wireless settings is the option to turn WiFi network discovery on.

Even without constant internet access, I have found my email update throughout the day whenever the device catches a random network. Not only that, but the few times I've needed to use the internet browser so far, I was in a WiFi hotspot.

Features removed from the Kin ONEm and Kin TWOm:
Because of the lack of a data plan on these phones, many of the built-in social networking and cloud storage features have been removed from the device. In addition, a feature called The Spot, which let users share content, has also been removed.

Features added to the Kin ONEm and Kin TWOm:
There are a few new applications that have been added to the modified Kins. The first of which is a calendar app, which isn't syncable with your email calendar, but lets you add events with customizable reminders. Another new app is the calculator, which is pretty self-explanatory and includes basic calculator functions. These applications, especially the calendar, were missing from the original release and drew the ire of critics.

Features from original Kin left intact:
Other features of the Kin Two include 8GB of internal storage, a 3-row slide out QWERTY keyboard, an 8 MP camera w/ LED flash and 720p video recording, threaded text messages, a favorites screen that allows you to program your top contacts with pictures of each, access to Zune Pass, an FM radio tuner, mp3 player, and an alarm.

Future Updates?
It is yet to be seen if these devices will get any future software updates or new apps such as the instant messenger (IM) client that was rumored to be coming before the phone was pulled over the summer. It might depend on sales for the relaunched device, but even if sales are good, I wouldn't get my hopes too high since Microsoft is focusing on the Windows Phone 7 platform.

Final Thoughts
The lack of IM client was the one thing that had me hesitant, but after learning about AIM over SMS, I was content enough with that solution.

Even though the resurrection of this phone could be come to an end at any time if sales remain low or if stock runs out, the 8MP camera, 720p video recording, and WiFi internet sold me on this device that lands somewhere between a feature phone and a smartphone, especially considering the $49 price.

If you need internet access 24/7 then move along, but if you're a text-er who is in the market for a new phone without a data plan, this is by far the best option currently available.

More Info:
KIN™ TWOm @ Verizon Wireless
Microsoft Kin Forums

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Anonymous Poster
#1

Re: Review: Microsoft Kin TWOm / Kin Two

12/05/2010 3:57 PM

I also just purchased this phone and Verizon has the old Kin One and Kin Two Manual on their site and many functions in the Manual are not on the Kin OneM and Kin TwoM phones, including MS Exchange pre-listed on the e-mail screen, which was to be used to import your contacts into the phone by using Live. G-Mail is there but that also does not import contacts. It must have worked with just the Kin Two, but not with the recent M series, so many people who have bought this newer version with software removed are asking how you can get contacts into the phone. It appears there is no way. If anyone figures it out, I'd love to know. It has many other functions for only a feature phone that are nice.

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Guru

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: New York
Posts: 581
Good Answers: 16
#2
In reply to #1

Re: Review: Microsoft Kin TWOm / Kin Two

12/05/2010 5:57 PM

I actually had the same issue importing contacts. I thought I would be able to import them through Gmail or Hotmail but was unsuccessfull. I ended up putting them in manually which was a bit of a pain but only took me an hour to put in over 50 contacts. Definitely annoying, but 1 hour of manual entry over the course of the entire time you own the phone didn't seem too bad when looked at that way.

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Kaplin
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Anonymous Poster
#3

Re: Review: Microsoft Kin TWOm / Kin Two

12/25/2010 1:46 AM

I also have this phone and its great for what it is a feature phone with out the need of a data plan. Also about the contacts I have read people having issues but verizon transfered mine from my windows mobile 6.1 with no problem. My dad got one and they transfered his contacts perfectly fine from his old flip phone too so if possible have verizon do it for you and there shouldn't be any issues.

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Anonymous Poster
#4

Re: Review: Microsoft Kin TWOm / Kin Two

01/02/2011 3:43 PM

I have been very interested in this phone because of the wifi capabilities despite the lack of a data plan. My main concern is that Verizon will release a new feature phone soon that will be superior and also be wifi compatible. Do you think this is likely, or do you think the Kin will be unique in this regard because it is a "downgraded" smartphone?

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Guru

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: New York
Posts: 581
Good Answers: 16
#5
In reply to #4

Re: Review: Microsoft Kin TWOm / Kin Two

01/05/2011 12:58 PM

Something newer/better is always around the corner but I think the Kin TWOm is still ahead of its time with the wifi capabilities and other smartphone-like features.

CES is this week and Verizon is having a big fanfare for its 4G network launch with the HTC Thunderbolt 4G and other high-end devices. With emphasis on these, its doubtful that Verizon would release a high-end feature phone to compete with itself. (They want people to be forced into data plans)

The only reason these features are available on the Kin is beacuse of its failure as a smartphone.

Eventually I think you will see Android on feature-phones but that could be at least a year away still. The one device which was rumored to be an Android feature-phone, the Env Pro, has been delayed or canceled.

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Kaplin
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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Review: Microsoft Kin TWOm / Kin Two

01/12/2011 8:38 AM

its a really good phone! for an example if forget your ipod or if it dies your phone is a back up for music! thats why i love it!!!

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Anonymous Poster
#7
In reply to #4

Re: Review: Microsoft Kin TWOm / Kin Two

02/04/2011 5:08 PM

Verizon is obviously trying to push people into the smartphone market to get that $30 extra/month so I doubt they're going to give us anything new in the feature phone dept that's truly appealing. I'm one of the few people that has had an enV touch last the full contract term(well close, knock on wood) without the touch screen wigging out(my wife's, not so lucky). I've really liked the phone and haven't seen anything in the feature phone list from LG that I even care to look at. I'm guessing that I'm going to go with Kin TWOm for the good camera, touch screen, qwerty, and simply for lack of a better choice. Of course I'd like one of the smartphones but I'm stubborn and can't justify the extra money for the data plan. If they had a 1gig plan for $10-$15, I'd probably jump on that.

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