Week in review: Smartphone disconnect

Microsoft hangs up on Kin, while T-Mobile kicks out some Sidekicks. Also: Apple antenna woes.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Steven Musil
3 min read

It was a tough week for smartphones.

Microsoft has decided not to move forward with the Kin, a phone aimed at avid social-networking users.
Microsoft has decided not to move forward with the Kin, a phone aimed at avid social-networking users. CNET

Amid anemic sales, Microsoft has decided to halt work on its Kin phone less than two months after the product hit the market. The social media-oriented phone will not make its planned European debut, and Microsoft is shifting the entire Kin team to work on Windows Phone 7, the Microsoft smartphone operating system due out later this year.

The Kin, which made its debut just two months ago at an event in San Francisco, was the result of several years of work by Microsoft and stemmed from its 2008 acquisition of Sidekick maker Danger. However, despite a few innovative features including streaming music and a Web-based companion site, the Kin phones were criticized for missing key features, such as a calendar, as well as because the monthly fees for the phone were as high as more capable smartphones, such as the iPhone and Android-based devices.
•  Another Microsoft phone project up in the air

Some of the Kin's kin are also getting the ax. T-Mobile confirmed to CNET that it plans to stop selling the two existing Sidekick models. T-Mobile declined to elaborate on the future Sidekick plans, but the company has been rumored for months to be prepping Android-based Sidekicks.

Meanwhile, iPhone 4 users continue to grapple with signal loss issues:

Poking holes in Apple's iPhone antenna explanation

Saying it was "stunned" by its mistake, the company will issue a software update to fix how it calculates signal strength on its iPhones. So does that settle things, really?
• Apple: iPhone 4 signal bars can be wrong, fix ahead
• Class action suit filed over iPhone 4 antenna
• Apple antenna issue a 'physics problem'
• Apple may have iOS 4 update to fix reception issue
• Are supply issues putting Apple at risk?
• No free bumpers for iPhone users?
• Apple iPhone 4 sales: 1.7 million in three days

More headlines

Google Suggest searches blocked in China

Internet users inside China are unable to use Google's suggested searches feature after Chinese Internet regulators imposed a block.
•  Google forced to change China approach--again

Google buys travel software company ITA

The $700 million deal gives Google a widely used source of information about the travel industry and will likely prompt howls of outrage from Google's competitors.
•  Regulators bound to stack up over Google-ITA

Purported Windows 8 document leaks to Web

Facial recognition and improved boot times are on tap, according to what a Microsoft enthusiast site says are internal documents on the still hush-hush operating system.
•  What the Windows 8 leak tells us
•  Microsoft's eye on Apple

IE reverses usage share slide; Microsoft cheers

After years of dwindling usage, Microsoft's browser has, at least for now, stemmed losses. And the gain comes at Firefox's expense.
•  IBM names Firefox its default browser

Hulu unveils $9.99 premium service

The monthly fee, which has long been anticipated, means Hulu Plus subscribers will get access to full seasons of TV shows. But the fee may not sit well with some Hulu fans.
•  Why Hulu Plus is a nifty addition

Federal rules on campus file sharing kick in

Inside a sweeping education statute are requirements for universities to police their networks and educate students on copyright law.
•  File sharer beats 'Hurt Locker' makers to punch
•  Feds seize cash, Web sites of alleged film pirates
•  Web copyright: YouTube up, Lime Wire down

Amazon acquiring eccentric retailer Woot.com

Retail giant Amazon is acquiring the "one deal, one day" retailer Woot.com. According to Woot, the company will remain its own retailer, and not a part of Amazon's own site.
•  Amazon.com experiences hours-long outage

White House backs FCC plans for more spectrum

President Obama signs a memorandum to make it a priority to get another 500MHz of wireless spectrum into the market within the next decade.
•  White House drafting plan for cyberspace safety

Also of note

•  Sony to recall half-million laptops on heat risk
•  iOS developer Tapulous acquired by Disney
•  Austin, NY likely to see first Chevy Volts