On Habré already discussed a party
about the launch of Microsoft `Kin One and Kin Two, there was also a review of
Recently, a network acquaintance sent me his experience using Kin One, I think it will be interesting for the Habras community to read about it.
Further - the author's text without abbreviations. ( Caution - a lot of text !!!
It's no secret that Microsoft's Kin One and Kin Two mobile phones failed miserably in the US market: according to various “knowledgeable sources,” in the first six weeks of sales, Verizon Wireless managed to sell from 500 to 10,000 copies of these models. Is it a lot or a little? Let's just say: this is not just a failure, but a whole disaster and a real “shame of the jungle”, because more than one hundred million dollars have been invested in the development of the devices. (Of course, comparing Kina with the iPhone 4 is hardly fair, and yet: the last one has sold 1.7 million units in three days.)
It is for this reason that Microsoft announced that the “launch” of Kin one and Kin Two planned for autumn in Europe has been canceled, while in the US they will still be available for some time from Verizon Wireless. Meanwhile, the Kin development team will bring to the mind the operating system Windows Phone 7, on which all the “mobile” hopes of the corporation are now entrusted.
What does all this mean in practice? Existing versions of Kin One and Kin Two are designed for CDMA EV-DO networks, and modifications to familiar GSM / UMTS networks will not be released.
Well, now it's time for one confession: April 11 (the day of the announcement of Kin phones) I saw a photo of the Kin One model and suddenly I realized: “I WANT!”. Yes, the device looks very unusual, and the “average user” is unlikely to buy it (which was proved by sales in the US), but ... I generally like the square and “egg-like” models with sliding keyboards: in the near future I will get Motorola FlipOut, and Nokia X5-1, announced at the exhibition CommunicAsia 2010, I also liked.
But back to Kin One. So, European sales of Kin phones have been canceled, but I still want to have such a device for the collection. And not just to get hold of, but to get a working copy - so that you can make calls, receive calls, visit web pages and so on and so forth. Since in Ukraine, where I live, there are several cellular operators of CDMA standard with frequencies similar to Verizon Wireless, the idea arose to order Kin One from the USA and try to connect from us.
Naturally, this approach also had a number of “pitfalls” - let's say I didn’t manage to figure out in advance if the Kin phones were locked onto Verizon Wireless or not. For obvious reasons, there is no normal community of owners of these devices, and judging by the reviews in foreign Internet forums, no one thought of using Kin One outside the States before me.
Actually, I looked at the online auction site eBay and found out that almost all Kina can be delivered to the buyer only in the United States. Lot with Worldwide delivery, there was only one, and the seller - by the way, my former compatriot - knew nothing about the “lock” either. Like, "the phone is disconnected from Verizon, there is no SIM card slot in it, and I cannot guarantee anything at all." Communicating with our local CDMA phone vendors gave us a little more hope: according to them, the equipment of the American operator Sprint is almost always “locked up”, while modems and handsets from Verizon Wireless are most often suitable for use in other networks without any extra tricks. In general, I decided to take a chance. I transferred $ 250 to the Ukrainian and five days later (yes, I was also surprised that the package flew to Ukraine so quickly) the coveted Kin One was already in my hands.
I will talk about my impressions of the device below, and now about the epic with the connection to the operator Intertelecom. So, in the office of this company, Kin One was not particularly surprised - apparently, all sorts of exotics come from the USA to them regularly. They were not surprised to be surprised, but they could not connect the device to the network at the first attempt, and, by no means through their own fault.
The fact is that Kin One is defined by the operating systems Windows XP, Vista and 7 simply as “Portable Media Player Kin”. That is, then you can run the Zune Software package and upload a bunch of songs, pictures and videos to the phone’s memory, but they don’t see it at all. This requires special drivers - Pink CDMA Diagnostic (Pink is the name of the project, within which Kin One and Kin Two were created); In addition, to install them, you need to enter a secret code and password (## 77647266488 and 000000, respectively) from the keyboard, and then change the mode of connecting to a PC with USB Pass-Through in the menu that appears. After that, the device will be designated in the application manager as Pink CDMA Diagnostic, the Windows operating system will try to find "firewood" and will not find anything, and you will be able to substitute them yourself. So, we looked for these drivers on the Internet for more than a week. And found nothing.
I even took Kin One from Intertelecom’s office, having decided that it was his fate to lie on the shelf, reminding of hundreds spent in vain for two and a half ... But after a couple of days, they posted an archive of KinPixiPreCentroTreo800w_etc_DiagDrivers.rar (52) (52) . As stated, it contained everything necessary for connecting in the “diagnostic” mode of the driver. Downloaded. I tried. Does not work. That is, Windows scans the folder (three files with the extension * .inf and two with the extension * .sys) and reports that there are no correct drivers in it. Meanwhile, I noticed that the Device ids of the phone in the device manager of the operating system contains the value Vid_056C, and in the open Notepad drivers with the extension * .inf for some reason it says Vid_05C6. Corrected, saved. Earned! The drivers were installed and Kin One was displayed in the Ports (COM & LPT) device manager section as [CAIN] Microsoft KIN Passthru Diag Port (COM1). There were no problems with the engineers of Intertelecom - the very next day Kin One was hooked up. As it turned out, the phone was not locked to the Verizon Wireless network. I note that after a couple of weeks of operation, the device suddenly stopped downloading web pages - that is, the ability to make and receive calls was preserved, but the Internet was “lying”. The problem was solved by reloading the PRL file at the operator’s office, although the sediment remained. Who knows - when will Kin One be cut out next time? Maybe tomorrow, maybe never. Here I note that the phone can not be used as a modem for the PC.
Next, we give the ten most curious, in my opinion, facts about Kin One. I think they will best talk about the nuances of operating the phone and, perhaps, even the reasons for its failure.
1. The Kin company is assembled by the Japanese company Sharp (it also produced the Danger company SideKick phones, absorbed by Microsoft in 2008), which is proudly written on their back panels. But the quality of this very assembly cannot be called high: the play of the halves does not just take place, but even annoying, and the battery cover does not hold very tightly. By the way, a pair of buttons have already appeared scuffed, although the upper part of the phone does not seem to be in contact with the keyboard.
As for materials, Kin One uses various plastics - the back part is made of quickly soiled “soft-touch”, and the front part is made of translucent “smoky” plastic. In general, if the same metal Zune HD leaves the impression of a cool, high-quality thing, then Kin One is perceived as ... Say, like an inexpensive toy (most of all Kin One reminds Tamagotchi). Most likely, the developers decided to use plastic because of the mass of wireless modules: Qualcomm QSC6085 CDMA chipset, GPS receiver, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi adapters, and also FM radio.
2. Kin phones are built on the first-generation “system on chip” nVidia Tegra, which is also the basis for the Zune HD media player. But the interface of the latter really works very quickly and smoothly, and Kin One can be called a real “brake”. For example, in order to go from the main menu to dialing a number, you need to wait for a half second. Almost all menu items and applications open slowly, and the phone turns on very slowly.
3. Both the email client and the web browser display “hieroglyphs” instead of Cyrillic characters. Messages with Russian letters do not understand the phone either - they go blank. If the text contained both Cyrillic and Latin, then the “sms” will also be empty. After exploring the terrible Zune HD web browser that took place last winter, I assumed that the Kin One browser would also behave irrelevant in our realities, but it exceeded all expectations. The player normally displayed at least some Russian sites (about 1 out of 10), and Kin One is not even capable of that. In fairness, I note that the phone is designed only for the United States, so too much to blame him for it is not worth it. Moreover, he “digests” the tags of MP3-files quite adequately - and here there are no problems with Cyrillic.
4. The 2.6-inch capacitive touchscreen TFT-screen (240x320 pixels) was not impressed. Apparently, in Kin One a very cheap matrix is used - it "fades" in the sun, and the color rendition is far from ideal. For example, the Sony Ericsson P1i has a display with the same parameters (unless it is only resistive), and it is also far from modern standards, but at the same time provides the best picture quality. Kin One also has support for multi-touch technology, but it’s inconvenient to scale pictures and pages with two fingers in the case of Kin One. Yes, and there is a "separation" is not smooth, but jerky. In general, fails.
5. The phone has a satellite receiver GPS navigation, but for navigation it can not be used - only to add geotagging to photos obtained by the built-in camera. The approach is strange, given that Microsoft has its own map service - Bing Maps. You cannot install any Google Maps or Yandex.Maps here, as there is no Java support in Kin phones and, apparently, never will be.
6. By the way, about the camera: the 5-megapixel autofocus module was supposedly released by Sony, but the high quality of photos and videos (640x480 pixels, 30 frames per second) cannot be said. The LED flash “hits” very weakly, but it cannot be used as a flashlight (well, this is already a dream - this feature is not in all “normal” cell phones). For comparison: in terms of picture quality, the Kin One is easily “done” by both the expensive Samsung S8500 Wave and the budget Philips Xenium X830. I compared with them, since a) these devices also have 5-megapixel cameras and b) they just fell under the arm.
7. One of the main “chips” of the Kin family of phones is the Kin Studio service, which allows you to store photos, videos and other personal data in the “cloud”. To register with the service and receive an account, you must specify an email address and password, and then accept its conditions. The corresponding proposal is displayed on the display every time you turn on the phone.
So, I did not manage to register. How did you find out, for this you need a "ip" Verizon Wireless. No other way. An interesting moment. Initially, the device accepted the address and password, and when trying to agree to the terms, he wrote something like the following: "Kin servers are now overloaded, wait 15 minutes and try again." After a couple of weeks, the phone began to report that it could not communicate with the servers at all - both via EV-DO and Wi-Fi. The situation is similar with updates, which can be downloaded from the menu: earlier Kin One said that there are no updates now, but now it claims that it cannot “reach out” to the server. I got the impression that I was simply banned - so that I would not go with my Ukrainian Kin One where access was “ordered” anyway.
Finally, theoretically, the phone allows you to read RSS feeds and in some way interact with social services - Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Windows Live. “Somehow,” since I also failed to test these options in practice - the phone simply refuses to “log in”, offering to try to do it later. Although, it would seem, the tapes and social networks have nothing to do with Kin Studio.
8. The phone has a Bluetooth module, however - to be honest, I was not surprised - it does not allow sharing files and contacts. With it, you can connect headsets and wireless headphones (using A2DP profile). I tried to listen to music using the Motorola S9, but the quality was not pleasant. Another thing, if you connect a wired "ears." (And, I note, some of my own - the complete ones do not impress at all.) With headphones from the Sony NWZ-A728 player, the phone gives out more than a decent sound, at the level of the same Zune HD. But here comes another nuance: if you want to download music, you can install the Zune Software package. As a removable disk, the phone is not detected. By the way, according to official data, the internal memory in it is four gigabytes, but in fact - three and a little. There is no slot for flash cards. It’s good that a standard microUSB port is provided for connecting to a PC.
9. Separately it is necessary to say about the interface. On the one hand, the developers faced a very, very difficult task. Let me explain: the same Zune HD, which is quite an authentic product, is still regularly called “iPod touch clone”. That is, any Microsoft product that has even very conditional, but its counterparts in the Apple lineup can run into the accusations of “non-originality”. Therefore, the corporation could not and did not want to equip the Kin phones with the usual “iconic” matrix. What is the result? If frankly, then complete chaos. All of these sockets, buttons and sliding screens do not have a close acquaintance with the device, and if some “Kettle” feels the Kin One in the Verizon cabin, then it is more likely to put the device aside and buy some Samsung.
The culture (let's call it that) of creating phone interfaces has been forming in the world for a decade and a half, and Microsoft decided for a couple of years - about as much “Kina” and developed - to create their own direction from scratch. In the end - FAIL !!! I sincerely hope that in the case of the operating system Windows Phone 7, developers will approach the elaboration of the interface more responsibly.
10. I always choose melodies for SMS messages and incoming calls from standard ones, but Kin One in any case does not allow you to set up your own ringtone on the call. There are 15 pre-installed ones, all of which are very quiet and in general ... Let's say not very pleasant to the middle ear. The approach is very strange, given the fact that Kin phones are positioned as true youth. Or do American teenagers not suffer from the ringtone disease typical of our children?
I do not regret that I have laid out $ 250 for this device. Just because my collection of gadgets has been replenished with another unique instance for our latitudes. However, it is practically impossible to use it in real life. Yes, it allows you to make and receive calls, and can even act as a good music player, but that’s not enough for a modern phone. It would seem that there are so many big names - Microsoft, Sharp, nVidia, Sony and so on and so forth - and the output still turned out to be a couple of rattles, which are hard to compare not only with iPhone, but also with Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson products and even some Chinese who have been successfully producing mobile phones under the Philips and Alcatel brands for several years.
I liked the request posted by one of the owners of the Kin phone on their technical support site. The girl asked not to fool users in the head, but simply to release firmware for Kin One and Kin Two with the Windows Phone 7 operating system in the fall. They say, in this case, the corporation will be able to somehow rehabilitate itself and sell at least another couple of tens of Kin. Well, the proposal is very interesting. But it’s hardly likely that anyone in Redmond will take it seriously: there is an opinion that the Pink project is recalled there with a shudder. And for good reason ...photos from the article in high resolution