In another review, Anand wrote some words that I can't get out in my head because they're so true: "Apple has started a trend of companies spending entirely too much on packaging." Truer words haven't been spoken, but the KIN did have some of the most unique packaging I've ever seen. There's been some other memorable packaging out there, including the 'Hacker Edition' N900 packaging which requires using terminal commands over serial to open the box.

The KIN packaging was different. It was hip, modern, and innovative. If nothing else, it shows that Microsoft can still get radically creative when it matters.

I'd like to point out that what's particularly odd about smartphone packaging is that - most of the time - you don't even get to unbox your own phone if you're purchasing it at a retail store. A carrier employee will take the phone out, activate it, and hand it to you. This has been the case for me at least with every phone I've ever purchased which was subsidized. Sometimes they'll ask you if you want to take it out of the box, but it's rare in my experience. Even though packaging isn't something the user frequently gets to dive into when buying at a store, it does set a first impression - which is likely why so much importance is afforded to it. But I digress.

The KIN came in colorful cardboard tubes with rubbery caps at top and bottom. The ONE comes in a white tube, while the TWO comes in a black one. The first impression the KIN packaging sets is that it's radically different - just like the phones themselves.  

Once you pop, the fun don't stop - oh wait...

Pop the top off the pringles, er... KIN can (there's a joke in there about a can-can waiting to be had), and there's a green felt pull tab and a cardboard holder. Pull on that, and out comes a tube wrapped with the same kind of elastic green felt.

Take that felt ring off, open the cardboard fold, and you've got the phone in an inset on one side, and instructions, cables, and power adapter on the other. The TWO has the same affair, except the inset is slightly larger to accomodate the taller form factor.

It was different, and it worked for the KIN. The devices weren't smartphones, weren't featurephones either - completely different packaging just made sense. Packaging is functional too however, and there's a reason most smartphone boxes are small and squarish. Squares have better packing density for transportation reasons. Cylinders - not as much. Microsoft made a bold choice going with a much larger than normal package that was flashy and different.

Microsoft's KIN is dead Form Factor - ONE: Original/Unique, TWO: Bland/Soulless
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  • Brentcsi101 - Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - link

    someone saying "Droid X" anyone?? But come on... between Android and iOS, there is nothing right now that can compete with them.
  • Diesel Donkey - Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - link

    You must have never used a Palm Pre or Pixi.
  • mrjminer - Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - link

    Yea, I was going to get a Palm Pre... but the cost of the required plan was far more than what I'm willing to spend for a cell phone. I ended up going on Craigslist and getting someone to transfer their SERO plan over to me for $75. Can't really beat $35 a month (after taxes) for 450 minutes, unlimited texting, and unlimited data -- I can deal with using a Palm Treo Pro in the meantime.

    As for the Kin, I really like the form factor of the smaller one. However, it will be tough to decide between WebOS and Windows 7 Mobile, assuming HP actually continues development on WebOS.
  • Stuka87 - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    Why would anybody buy a phone from a company that no longer exist?
  • mrjminer - Thursday, July 15, 2010 - link

    ..... "assuming HP actually continues development on WebOS."
  • inspire - Friday, July 16, 2010 - link

    Palm exists today just as much as Mobil does.
  • mcnabney - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    The WebOS devices have fallen into the same category as the Kin. A nice try, but too little and too late. If the Pre had come out on schedule (two years ago!) they would have kept in the race and likely not have been acquired by HP.
  • aebiv - Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - link

    Amazing how everyone is so quick to forget the most flexible and powerful mobile OS, Windows Mobile. Yes, Android comes close, but the roadmap for 3.0 doesn't look good locking down the UI more. Battery life? Why is it my HD2 with a smaller battery gets better battery life than the EVO? They're virtually the same phone hardware wise, just a difference in mobile OS.
  • sprockkets - Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - link

    "Amazing how everyone is so quick to forget the most flexible and powerful mobile OS, Windows Mobile."

    We forgot about it when the iphone and even others at the time made us realize how horrible it was to use.

    Only thing keeping WM alive before ver 7 is HTC and their skin.
  • aebiv - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    Horrible it was to use?

    How was it horrible?

    Quit making generalizations and give some points.

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