Those who were wondering what happened to leftover Microsoft Kin devices that did not sell may have just gotten their answer.
The phones, which lasted less than two months on the U.S. market before being pulled ahead of an international launch, were presented to consumers as something in between a smartphone and a feature phone, offering up things like social networking and Microsoft's Zune music player while omitting very basic features like a calendar.
Before shelving sales of the device, Verizon--which had been the initial carrier for the Kins, cut the Kin's price by as much as 50 percent. Sources told CNET that sales had been somewhere between 1,000 and 10,000 units.
When contacted by CNET, both Verizon and Microsoft refused to comment.
One very interesting twist on all this is that PPCGeeks says the devices will be making their return minus the need for Verizon's $30 data plan--something many attributed to be one of the Kin platform's weak selling points as a smartphone alternative. That said, features like e-mail, photo sharing, music streaming, and browsing social-networking updates would still demand some sort of data package.
Also, assuming the Kin makes a return, the question of whether Microsoft would pool any sort of resources--marketing, software development, or otherwise--into something with no obvious future versus the freshly-launched Windows Phone 7 platform seems a tad thin.