Fast forward to just this past week and Microsoft is announcing the Kin – a machine like Google Nexus one phone, built on Redmond’s design specs but brought to market through an exclusive distributor, Verizon. In contrast, Nexus One had no exclusive distribution but can be used on several carriers. In addition, Android the operating system for Nexus One is open to usage by several phone/gadget manufacturers. Also Android had been available to device manufacturers and carrier distributors for well over 18 months before the launch of Nexus One. Finally, Android can be and has been customized[there is an Open Android API] by device manufaturers, carrier distributors and 3rd party software developers
In contrast, Microsoft Kin is an exclusive deal with one carrier, Verizon, and one manufacturer, Sharp. There has been very little lead time for the carriers, device manufacturers, and 3rd party developers to come on stream for Kin. And Kin itself sort of stands off halfway between the old: Windows Mobile 6.5 + Zune, and the new Mobile Phone 7 – each one very different and not easily interchangeable.
Finally, look who Kin is targeted for – the teen and early tween set doing lots of social interactions. This group in 2-3 years time will be looking for a more robust mobile solution set – for which, Microsoft will be much better prepared than they are now. So Kin provides the all important youth market with a target Microsoft mobile product that they can throwaway in two years time for the next gen Microsoft product. Clearly Microsoft is willing to pay an awful lot to stay in the mobile game.