The KINs have had an interesting life, and today another chapter in the story of the two devices is being added. Although Verizon and Microsoft killed the handsets shortly after their release, the main features like the KIN Studio and the Loop continued to function properly for the few users that bought a KIN. However, Verizon is now sending out notices to KIN owners telling them that the Studio will be shut down on January 31st. Just what does this mean? Much of the phone's functionality will disappear, including the ability to post updates to social networks, comment on Facebook, and see social network updates from the Loop. One of the only features that'll still be available after the Jan. 31st cutoff will be Zune Pass, although you'll be relegated to WiFi use only. If you're a KIN owner and don't want to continue using your hobbled device after the Studio is shut down, Verizon will be happy to give you a new 3G phone of your choice for free.
I think we all kind of expected to see the KIN's services shut down eventually, but it's still disappointing to see them go. If only Verizon and Microsoft were able to price the devices and their plans cheaper, the KINs may have actually had a shot at success. As of January 31st, though, the original devices are going to be neutered and join the ONEm and TWOm in Verizon's featurephone family (even though they were arguably kind of featurephones to begin with). The good news is that you KIN owners will be able to step up to a shiny new smartphone to help you ease the pain.