A Verizon Wireless document (JPGs) obtained by Windows Phone Central reveals that Microsoft will permanently close KIN Studio on January 31, 2011. For the 500 or so consumers who actually bought the "social" phone, this means the backbone OTA feature set will no longer be available. Instead, owners will be reduced to sending texts and making calls. Brilliant.
"Any data you are currently storing [in KIN Studio] will not be available to you after that date," the Verizon document reads. "All photos, videos and contacts on your KIN phone (or in KIN Studio) that you wish to save will need to be downloaded to your personal computer by January 31, 2011. In addition, some features tied to the KIN Studio and service-- such as linked contacts, text messages, call logs and feeds-- will no longer be available after January 31, 2011. Unfortunately, these cannot be downloaded or saved."
According to the document, social networks will only be accessible through the mobile web browser starting next month, eliminating all contacts previously displayed on the phone via KIN Studio, and eliminating the ability to post comments or pictures directly from the main screen. Additionally, the Feed Reader, Search Near Me, and the loop features will stop working, the latter of which will cease displaying comments. KIN Spot will only send emails, and most pictures currently stored on the KIN One and KIN Two will appear at thumbnail resolution.
The good news is that the KIN One and KIN Two won't be completely worthless-- they'll still have the ability to make calls, send and receive texts, and access the internet. However Verizon understands that its customers bought the Microsoft phones based on its social features, and now wants to offer those KIN buyers a free, new 3G phone without a contract renewal through March 31, 2011. Although a free replacement phone is great, the only drawback is that the new device may require an additional data package.
Still, Verizon seemingly apologizes for Microsoft's blunder and is offering step-by-step guidelines on how to save KIN Studio contacts, photos and videos before Microsoft pulls the plug on the service. To learn more, head to the KIN One support page here and the KIN Two support page here.