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Tips back Nokia Ace, Microsoft says iPhone an inspiration

01/07, 6:15pm

Pair of sources seed Nokia Ace launch info

Two anonymous sources have spoken to a pair of outlets that may have confirmed the Nokia Ace, also known as the Lumia 900, coming to AT&T. Both Bloomberg and the New York Times received very similar information, possibly from the same contacts, that the flagship Windows Phone would be launched on AT&T at CES next week. The former trade publication supported beliefs that it would carry 4G LTE and understood that AT&T was aiming for $249 on a contract.

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Leak: Andy Lees swap is punishment for Windows Phone sales

12/14, 4:20pm

Tips have Lees demoted for poor WP7 performance

Microsoft's decision to move Andy Lees to a new position was his punishment for Windows Phone 7's failure in the market, leaked details may have uncovered. The vague role he was given of creating "maximum impact" for WP7 and Windows 8 was described by The Verge's source as a sign that "he's been benched." Lees' public portrayal of how soon Windows Phone would get share versus real results was reportedly causing angst within the company.

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Andy Lees moved to 'time-critical' Windows 8, Phone project

12/12, 5:00pm

Microsoft moves Windows Phone lead to special work

Microsoft's Windows Phone leader Andy Lees is being moved out of his existing role to work on a special cross-platform project, a leaked memo uncovered Monday. CEO Steve Ballmer told staff that Lees was working on a special project for next year that ZDNet understood would involve Microsoft support across PCs, phones, and tablets. The exact details weren't uncovered other than that Windows 8 and Windows Phone would be the key ingredients.

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Microsoft Courier axed over Bill Gates' 'allergic reaction'

11/01, 9:25am

Leak shows Courier killed for lack of Office tech

Microsoft's decision to kill the Courier tablet came after a meeting with former CEO Bill Gates himself, according to a new leak on Tuesday. Not willing to decide on his own whether Microsoft should embrace the book-like Courier or a more conventional tablet, current CEO Steve Ballmer turned to a presentation with Gates judging a presentation by Courier architect J Allard, then Entertainment & Devices head Robbie Bach, and a pair of project engineers, CNET heard. Gates reportedly had a virtual "allergic reaction" when Allard revealed that the Courier's emphasis on drawing, note-taking, and other content plans meant it wouldn't have native e-mail or otherwise tap directly into the Office or Windows ecosystems.

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Microsoft's buyout of Skype may close in US this week

10/11, 5:30pm

Microsoft-Skype deal near wrapped up in US

Microsoft's buyout of Skype could be formally completed in the US this week, multiple tips indicated Tuesday. They explained to AllThingsD that it was "likely" the deal would be done in the next few days. The agreement already has American and European approval and is likely just waiting on formalities.

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Microsoft gets FTC approval to buy Skype

06/17, 6:40pm

FTC approves Microsoft's Skype takeover

The FTC on Friday said it had given approval to Microsoft's buyout of Skype. The clearance determined that the deal wouldn't create any significant anti-competitive issues. The filing didn't say whether other agencies had to close the deal, which Microsoft had only said would be approved by the end of 2011.

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Microsoft shuts creative unit behind Courier tablet

05/19, 6:45pm

Microsoft closes experimental Pioneer Studios

New tips Thursday afternoon have pointed to and confirmed Microsoft shutting down its once-hopeful Pioneer Studios. Its creative workshop, best known for the ill-fated Courier tablet, has closed down its exotic office in Seattle and seen most staff either folded into existing groups or have left elsewhere. Microsoft didn't directly confirm the end to the studio with CNET but did say it was no longer occupying its custom-designed space.

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Google forms Android Hardware team from Danger exiles

05/11, 6:05pm

Google makes Android Hardware team

Google in a low-key move has set up a hardware group dedicated solely to building hardware devices and using some of VP Andy Rubin's former Danger teammates. An Android@Home and Android Open Accessory.

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Insiders blame Microsoft mobile failure on Windows 'cartel'

04/03, 11:30am

Microsoft mobile failure pinned on Windows pride

An investigation into Microsoft's high-profile mobile failures has blamed much of the company's poor market share on an endemic culture that resists anything not part of Windows. CEO Steve Ballmer is said to be over-proud and overprotective of the Windows legacy he inherited from Bill Gates. The company's Windows and Office teams often get first say over anything, Forbes was told, and were likened earlier by James Whittaker to a Mafia that killed Courier, Kin, or any project that would threaten Windows' internal hegemony.

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Windows Phone may get resurrected Kin Studio

03/30, 10:55am

Microsoft hires for Windows Phone Mobile Studio

Microsoft's defunct Kin Studio may come back as a slightly rebadged Windows Phone service. Job listings make mention of a Mobile Studio service for Windows Phone that would "redefine the mobile phone." Few clues are found directly in the listing itself, but it would entail a new interface and likely get away from the teen-focused theming from the Kin version.

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Microsoft officially closes Kin Studio, ends an era

02/01, 5:40pm

Microsoft shuts down Kin Studio

Microsoft today acted on its promise to shut down Kin Studio. As of 3AM Eastern, Kin One and Two owners can't post photos to the Studio, backup their devices, check the Kin Loop or post content directly to Facebook. Core Internet features will still work over Wi-Fi, but Zune Pass streaming and over-the-air firmware updates won't work over 3G.

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"Media Stream" social features spotted in iOS 4.3 code

01/19, 9:45pm

New features mimic existing services

Apple appears to be set to expand iOS functionality with several new features focused on social networking and content sharing. The iOS 4.3 file system includes a new section labeled "Media Stream," which contains another folder titled "Photo Streaming," according to a 9to5Mac report.

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Kin Studio shutters Jan. 31, Verizon offers free phone swaps

12/11, 4:00pm

Microsoft to close Kin Studio January 31

A leak on Saturday has signalled that Microsoft is backing away more permanently from the Kin One and Two. The platform's Kin Studio online backup and sharing service will shut down January 31, less than a year after it went live, and will take away nearly all the features unique to the two phones. While e-mail, web browsing and Zune Pass streaming over Wi-Fi will still work, WPCentral's copy of a memo has the home screen social network updates (Kin Loop), direct Facebook updates, Facebook media sharing and the RSS reader will stop working.

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Microsoft officially relaunches the Kin One and Kin Two

11/18, 4:45am

Back on Verizon network with cheaper plans

After being labeled as one of Microsoft’s greatest failures having been pulled from sale after only six weeks during its original run, the Kin One and Kin Two are back on sale with Verizon. With the re-release has come a slight name change to the Kin ONEm and Kin TWOm. Microsoft only sold 8,810 units during the initial product run, but hopes to turn the disastrous sales numbers around with more attractive pricing plans.

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Microsoft resurrecting Kin as feature phone

11/11, 9:40pm

Kin One and Two reappear on Verizon roadmap

Microsoft's ill-fated Kin One and Kin Two are returning to Verizon, a leaked fall roadmap revealed tonight. Despite having sold just 8,810 phones, the phone designer is bringing the two devices back as the OneM and TwoM. PPCGeeks' copy of the roadmap would have both sold as basic feature phones and consequently dodging the $30 smartphone plan requirement widely credited for killing the popularity of the devices in their brief six-week initial run.

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Microsoft CEO bonus cut for Kin flop, lack of iPad rival

10/01, 9:10am

Ballmer bonus lowered for Kin and Windows Mobile

A new Microsoft SEC filing published late Thursday revealed that the company punished its CEO Steve Ballmer for his inability to turn around the company's struggling mobile efforts so far. The proxy statement notes that his total compensation of $1.35 million, including a $670,000 base salary and a matching bonus, was lower than in 2008 due to the "unsuccessful launch of the Kin" and "a loss of market share" for Windows Mobile. The Compensation Committee singled out the absence of a real Windows tablet rival through a need to "take advantage of new form factors."

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Ballmer admits Kin stole focus from Windows Phone

09/29, 12:30pm

Microsoft CEO says Kin took from Windows Phone 7

Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer in an interview characterized the Kin phones as a fundamental mistake for the company. The basic feature phones "defocused" Microsoft away from Windows Phone 7 and cut down on what Microsoft could say, the executive said to the Seattle Times. A device needed to be advanced, very concentrated or both to succeed.

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Verizon won't carry Windows Phone 7 at launch

09/16, 5:55pm

Verizon snubs Windows Phone 7 with 2011 plans

Verizon set out a major obstacle to Windows Phone 7's adoption today as it revealed that it won't have a Windows Phone 7 device on launch. Carrier spokeswoman Brenda Raney told Bloomberg that there would be no WP7 device at all on Verizon in 2010 and that there would "probably" be a model in 2011. She stressed that the death of the Kin hadn't soured the relationship, which was still "solid."

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Yahoo hires away Microsoft Kin exec

09/10, 10:35am

Ex-Microsoft exec John Matheny hired by Yahoo

Yahoo has very recently hired former Microsoft executive John Matheny, according to a Thursday AllThingsSD report. Matheny was involved heavily in the failed Kin project at Microsoft but was also the General Manager for the Windows Phone App Studio, Premium Mobile Experiences and MSN Platforms & Services groups, his LinkedIn profile revealed. At Yahoo, his new job is as senior VP of Yahoo's communications products and communities unit.

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One more Zune HD coming in 2011?

09/01, 5:35pm

Microsoft hinting at last hurrah for Zune HD

Microsoft may give the Zune HD one last try, but not for some time, a source hinted Wednesday. The device mentioned to ZDNet would, as predicted, use at least some of Windows Phone 7 but wouldn't ship until sometime in 2011. Given its early development, most hardware was unknown, although it would keep using an ARM processor much like the NVIDIA Tegra used today.

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Sharp sees its tablets competing with iPad, getting 3D

08/25, 8:40am

Sharp president says his tablets compete with iPad

Sharp President Mikio Katayama late Tuesday told Japan's Kyodo News that his company's upcoming tablets should compete with the iPad. Although initially positioned as e-readers, their color touchscreens give them multi-role functions Katayama believed could challenge Apple. At least one model is due to ship to Verizon before the end of the year with built-in 3G.

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Microsoft confirms Kin at least a $240 million write-off

07/22, 7:00pm

MS confirms Kin cost quarter billion dollars

Microsoft while discussing its spring performance acknowledged that the failure of the Kin phones was one of its most expensive missteps to date. It explained that writing off the project cost $240 million even without the development costs. The ending costs led the Entertainment and Devices group to a $172 million loss despite the success of the Xbox and helped the 23 percent increase in Microsoft's cost of revenue.

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Microsoft's record results just $300 million ahead of Apple

07/22, 4:55pm

Microsoft makes 16m in Q2 but barely past Apple

Microsoft this evening reported a best-ever spring quarter revenue that was undermined by its proximity to Apple's. The Windows developer made $16.04 billion in revenue but was just $300 million ahead of Apple's $15.7 billion during the same period. The gap in net profit was wider but still relatively close, at $4.52 billion for Microsoft versus $3.51 billion for the Mac maker.

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Microsoft delivers post-mortem Kin update

07/22, 4:00pm

Microsoft brings out first Kin software update

Microsoft has released a minor update for its discontinued Kin phones. The software giant hasn't detailed the changes in version 1.0, build 2814.0, but Bernard on WMPowerUser has researched them. The update seems to focus on Twitter functions, including new Twitter avatars in the Kin Loop and a delivery of Twitter statuses that mimics Facebook and MySpace status updates, which includes a comment form and feed.

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Verizon confirms Kin's abrupt exit

07/19, 12:10pm

Verizon says Kin sales ended entirely

Verizon today confirmed that it was pulling the Kin from stores early. The carrier is no longer selling the Kin One or Kin Two either online or at retail. Kin Studio and other back-end services are still expected to run, but for how long wasn't said.

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Verizon returns unsold Kin phones, pulls online sales

07/18, 12:15pm

Verizon decides against selling out Kin stock

A pair of insiders disclosed today that Verizon is returning all the unsold stock of the Microsoft Kin line as of Monday. The carrier has decided against selling remaining stock and will simply give the phones back to Microsoft. It has also pulled online sales of both the Kin One and Kin Two entirely and now just sells the accessories.

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Microsoft calls iPhone 4 Apple's Windows Vista

07/14, 2:05pm

MS exec thinks iPhone 4 may mimic Vista's failure

Microsoft chief operating officer Kevin Turner skewered Apple's missteps with the iPhone 4 in his talk at the Windows Partner Conference today. He noted that Windows Phone 7 devices shouldn't have problems with holding the phone and likened the iPhone 4 to Microsoft's own experiences with Windows Vista, where development problems helped competitors gain ground. A stumble by Apple in public perception would help Windows Phone 7 attract customers just as Microsoft itself needs to restore its image.

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US identifies new Microsoft hire as Russian spy

07/14, 10:40am

Microsoft unknowingly hired Russian secret agent

Microsoft suffered a wound to its public image today as it was revealed that a new Russian spy had been caught working at the company. Alexey Karetnikov had been working as a Software Design Engineer in Test at the Windows developer since October and was ordered out of the country on Monday after falling afoul of US immigration law. A Washington Post source in federal law enforcement, however, said that Karetnikov had "just set up shop" as a spy in Redmond, Washington and that the immigration charges were technicalities used without enough evidence of actual crimes to bring espionage charges so soon.

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Garminfone drops to $130 amid talk of poor sales

07/09, 11:45am

Garminfone price slash hints at low interest

T-Mobile contributed to concerns about ASUS and Garmin today by quietly dropping the price of the Garminfone from its original $200 to $130. The discount still needs a $50 rebate but appears to be permanent rather than a short-term sale. It follows just a month after the phone reached stores and is rare for any new device.

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Facebook app, sources say Microsoft sold 8,810 Kin phones

07/08, 5:05pm

Nearly 9,000 Kins were sold, not 503

The recent rumor that Microsoft sold just 503 Kin One and Kin Two handsets is facing new evidence to the contrary. As Kin requires users to register the Facebook app on the actual site, the number of active users on the social network should effectively match the amount of Kins out there. At last count, that included 8,810 users.

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Microsoft may have sold exactly 503 Kin phones

07/07, 3:55pm

Rumored Kin figure may be real after all

Claims that Microsoft may have sold just 500 Kin phones before the end may have been accurate. A tip from a "well-placed little birdie" to historically reliable John Gruber said Wednesday that Microsoft only sold 503 of the phones in the six weeks before the phase-out began. Previous talk had claimed it was higher, but still under 10,000.

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Blame for Kin's death spreads, casts doubt on Win Phone 7

07/07, 3:00pm

Microsoft workers say Kin leaders may kill WP7 too

More Microsoft employees have weighed in on the death of the Kin project and are now suggesting that the problems may spill over into Windows Phone 7. In addition to criticizing Windows Phone lead Andy Lees for downplaying Kin to protect his preferred OS, anonymous comments from within the company also lay blame at the feet of Matt Bencke, who was purportedly responsible for letting Verizon charge smartphone-level rates for a limited device. He may also have pressured the Kin team to drop features to make the international launch with no guarantees it would ever arrive.

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Microsoft may slash jobs on Wednesday

07/06, 10:00pm

Microsoft cuts hint not back to full growth

A late-breaking scoop from within Microsoft has revealed that the company is close to cutting jobs as soon as Wednesday. The headcount lost isn't known but wouldn't be as large-scale as with the over 5,800 jobs cut at the lowest point of last year's economic crash. They come after the end of Microsoft's fiscal year in June and would partly reflect a shift in product focus.

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Microsoft Kin's death pinned on exec's "jealous" infighting

07/02, 6:00pm

Microsoft's Lees blamed for Kin's early demise

More details have emerged today of the circumstances that led to the premature death of the Kin that suggest it was endemic to the project. Project Pink was originally led by famed Xbox leader and now departed J Allard but was effectively hijacked by the Windows Mobile team's lead, senior VP Andy Lees. He was "jealous" of the resources he saw being drawn away, according to Engadget sources, and not only took control but forced a change to a Windows CE foundation that conserved resources but doomed the project.

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T-Mobile seen rebirthing Sidekick based on Android

07/02, 8:30am

Leak backs Android Sidekick talk

When T-Mobile resurrects the Sidekick line after its temporary exit today, its next devices should be based on Android, tipsters said today. The carrier's US division has reputedly been working on an Android-based Sidekick "for some time." More details didn't surface from the mocoNews tip, but it's presumed the same software team that handled the myTouch 3G Slide's custom UI would write for the Sidekick.

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Microsoft's OneApp also in doubt

07/01, 4:15pm

Microsoft to shelve OneApp project?

Microsoft's OneApp project introduced about a year ago may not take off the ground, following in the footsteps of the Kin handsets. OneApp, which would see feature phones receiving an app store and running these apps in markets that include developing countries, was tested in South Africa and in other markets but no future plans were announced for it. According to a Thursday CNET report, Microsoft said it remains "excited about the potential of the OneApp technology and [will] continue to evolve its strategy."

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Microsoft using Kin death to unify mobile on Windows 8?

06/30, 8:05pm

Kin's exit to lead to desktop OS-level mobile

Microsoft's decision to cancel the Kin may ultimately lead to a unified, desktop-level OS strategy for mobile, if a detailed leak from within the company said tonight. Windows division president Steven Sinofsky is said to be angling for control over the mobile group and would be shifting the entire company strategy to settle on a unified Windows 8 platform. The Engadget tip didn't say how close Sinofsky was to achieving his short-term goal.

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Microsoft axes Kin after just six weeks [U]

06/30, 5:20pm

Microsoft Kin already a failure

(Updated with leaked estimates) Microsoft today surprised the phone industry by ending the Kin phone line just six weeks after it launched in mid-May. The company promised it would still sell the Kin One and Two through Verizon for now but has scrapped all of its international plans. It didn't say how long it expected to keep sales but made clear the shift was solely to its true smartphone lineup.

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Microsoft confirms Kin update coming mid-summer

06/29, 9:55am

Microsoft tech says Kin update due thie summer

Microsoft’s Kin handsets will soon receive a software update that would bring with it added features. Responding to a user complaint on the company's Social forums, a moderator confirmed this update. Details of the update aren't known, but the moderator does say that the update will address many of the user's concerns, which include unprompted shutdowns, a lack of a reply or retweet button and the inability to comment inside Twitter Replies or tweet quotes.

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Verizon cuts Kin prices just six weeks after launch

06/28, 5:10pm

Verizon already pushed to drop Kin costs

As hinted at this weekend, Verizon has cut the prices of the Kin One and Two roughly in half. The Kin Two has fallen from $100 to $50 on a contract, and the Kin One now costs $30. Verizon hasn't made any mention of an expiration date and implies the prices are permanent.

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Verizon already cutting Kin prices in half

06/26, 10:05pm

Leak confirms Kin One and Two price changes

After a false start, Verizon is now known to be slashing the prices of the Kin One and Two in half thanks to a leak this weekend. The Kin Two will drop from $100 to just $50 on contract, while the $50 Kin One is falling to $30. Both will be part of a wider sale that starts on June 28.

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Rumor: Microsoft may have sold just 500 Kin phones

06/18, 11:00am

Microsoft Kin may be in dire straits

One tentative rumor today claimed that Microsoft has only sold about 500 Kin One and Two phones through Verizon since they went on sale in May. The SAI source didn't provide many details but implied that less than one phone had been sold per store. Verizon hasn't commented on the story but typically doesn't give out unit sales counts.

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Microsoft Kin may get IM chats, calendars

06/16, 2:35pm

MS Kin could finally add IM support soon

Microsoft could significantly expand the functionality of Kin phones with future updates, well-known firmware hacker Conflipper has discovered. References in the code point to AIM, Windows Live and Yahoo instant messaging and imply that one or more chat clients should reach the feature phones. Further parts allude to a USB mode likely to be used for mass storage.

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Review: Microsoft Kin One and Kin Two

06/11, 3:50pm

Microsoft's new angle in the phone market

As Microsoft's market share in the cellphone market continues to slide, the company has taken a fresh approach with the Kin One and Kin Two. The new operating system represents a polar opposite compared to the company's Windows Mobile platform. Social networking is the new focus, with all of the features built around Facebook Twitter, MySpace and RSS feeds. The phones cannot be categorized as smartphones or feature phones. In our comprehensive Kin review, we'll explore the new OS and determine if it is an innovative alternative to existing platforms.

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Verizon may gut Microsoft Kin prices Friday

06/10, 5:30pm

Verizon price drop hints Kin not selling

Verizon is about to drop the prices on the Kin One and Two in a sign that Microsoft's phones might not be selling, sources said on Thursday. Although only launched last month, the Kin Two would drop from $100 to $50 on contract; the Kin One would be even cheaper, falling from $50 to free with a two-year plan. Both cuts would take effect on Friday, but BGR notes they wouldn't change the smartphone-level plans required for either model.

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Kin Two dissection shows Nvidia Tegra processor

05/18, 6:40pm

Housing measures nearly 20mm thick

iFixit has already dissected Microsoft's new Kin Two handset, revealing the internal components. Although images from the teardown show vague references for the CPU, Chipworks utilized x-rays and other advanced methods to confirm the placement of Nvidia Tegra components underneath a Numonyx package on the main board. The processor and memory stack span four dies mounted together in two layered packages.

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Microsoft defends Kin's $70 rate, promises apps

05/12, 3:30pm

MS says Kin to merge with WP7 app platform

Microsoft today defended the $70 monthly plan for the Kin by revealing that the phones would eventually get smartphone-like app support. Mobile communications senior manager Greg Sullivan said the Kin and Windows Phone 7 platforms would eventually merge to where both would run the same apps. He didn't give a timetable but asserted that the Kin was already starting above regular 'feature' phones, particularly through its inclusion of online backup and media sharing through the Kin Studio.

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Mark/Space Intros KIN Media Sync for Mac

05/11, 9:50pm

Synchronize media between Mac and KIN phones

Mark/Space has introduced KIN Media Sync for Mac, a new version of its synchronization software designed for the new KIN ONE and KIN TWO mobile phones. The program allows users to sync a wide range of different media including music, photos or video. With music, users can sync full playlists created in iTunes, as well as individual songs or entire albums. Photos which are taken with the KIN phones can be synced with iPhoto, while iPhoto albums can be transferred to the KIN

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Teens' texting habits kill Microsoft's Kin before birth

05/05, 6:50pm

Kin seen missing target as few teens agree

Teens' cellphone habits may have thwarted sales of Microsoft's Kin before they even begin, according to new study. Even though Kin requires a $70 smartphone plan with no built-in text messaging, Pew Research shows that just 27 percent of teens actually go online and 72 percent of them text message their friends. Most of the new phones' e-mail and social networking would actually go unused as just 23 percent visit social networks and 21 percent send e-mail.

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Kin phones burdened by smartphone plan, harsh reviews

05/05, 9:20am

Microsoft Kin debuts needing $70 plan

Verizon today stirred controversy by launching Microsoft's Kin phones on its network with high costs. Despite carrying a feature phone OS, both the Kin One and Kin Two will require a full $70 smartphone plan to use. The prices are also in smartphone ranges and put the One and Two at $50 and $100 respectively on contract, but only after a $100 rebate on each. Both start pre-orders today and go on sale May 13th.

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