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What the Kin phone (RIP) revealed about Microsoft's future

Call the next of Kin.

Barely two months after its release, Microsoft has pulled the plug on its "Kin" smartphone.

But during its brief lifetime, the handset offered an intriguing insight into Microsoft's possible future plan for storing data from all all your devices in one online location.

The Kin was rated "simply stunning" by influential* gadget site Gizmodo for its ability to automatically upload everything on your phone - from txt to photos - so you could access all your mobile phone stuff from any PC (read: How a Silly Phone for Teens Reveals Microsoft's Plan for Us All).

NBR thought that sounded rather clever and useful - and that it could well offer an early glimpse of a broader Microsoft plan to let people store all their stuff, from any device, in a single online location. A personal cloud, if you will.

But, sadly, your correspondent was unable to draw anything but blank or noncommittal responses from Microsoft, Telecom and Vodafone about a possible New Zealand release for the Kin. (So just like most Windows Mobile phones then. Joking - Editor)

Now, it will never be.

According to a statement, staff on the Kin will be redeployed to Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 project. The first Windows Phone 7 devices - not to be confused with the current Windows Mobile (keep up!) - are due by the end of the year. They will go up against rivals including Apple's iPhone, and a growing school of Google Android-based handsets.

Designed to be a user-friendly phone focussed on messaging and social networking, the Kin went on sale in the US in May through the part Vodafone-owned Verizon Wireless.  

A high-end model cost $US99, a entry level model $US49. Last week, the price of both was halved, presumably in response to slow demand. Obviously, it wasn't enough.

* Actually, not so influential in this instance.