Verizon brings back Kin One and Two

After pulling the plug on the Kin One and Two in June, Verizon has a change of heart and relists the social-centric phones for sale.

Bonnie Cha Former Editor
Bonnie Cha was a former chief correspondent for CNET Crave, covering every kind of tech toy imaginable (with a special obsession for robots and Star Wars-related stuff). When she's not scoping out stories, you can find her checking out live music or surfing in the chilly waters of Northern California.
Bonnie Cha
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Kin One Sarah Tew/CNET

Editors' note: This post was updated at 7:28 a.m. PT with new information about data plan options.

They're baaaaack.

Confirming earlier reports of their return, the Kin One and Kin Two are back on sale at Verizon with new names and new price points. Rebranded as the Kin Onem and Kin Twom, the two youth-oriented handsets are available for $19.99 and $49.99 respectively, with the usual two-year service agreements. In addition, Verizon is offering a buy one get one deal with the Kin Twom (the LG Ally is your only option for this offer).

The phones were originally priced at $49 and $99, which were later reduced to $29 and $49. However, the price cut wasn't enough to breathe life into Microsoft's social-networking phones and ultimately, the company pulled the plug on the Kins in June 2010, just two months after being on the market.

Sources told CNET that sales of the Kin were somewhere between 1,000 and 10,000 units. That's not a whole lot and we imagine there were plenty of leftover devices, which may be why Verizon's giving it another go.

Despite the new names, the devices appear to offer the same features as before, including access to your social networks (Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter) and the Zune experience (via Wi-Fi and sideload only). Though the phones certainly had their issues, many would argue that the one feature that put the nail in the coffin was the required $30 data plan. However, Verizon has rectified that situation.

In an e-mail to CNET, Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney said that the Kin Onem and Twom are being reintroduced as feature phones and not smartphones, so they will not require a data plan. However, you can add data packages if you wish. Verizon offers a $15-per-month plan for 150MB or an unlimited plan for $29.99 per month. There is also a $1.99 per MB pay-as-you-go option.

So, with these new pricing and data options, is anyone interested in getting a Kin?