After an underwhelming launch response, Microsoft has essentially pulled the plug on its Kin phone project. The handsets began shipping only a few short weeks ago, and rumors last week suggested that only 500 devices were sold - yes, that's five hundred. According new reports, the folks who designed the Kin have been assimilated into the Windows Phone 7 team. Additionally, plans for a European release have been axed.

As for the US, Microsoft says it will continue to work with Verizon to sell existing phones. We're not sure whether that means production will continue for a while, or if they're just trying to move what's already in warehouses. For what it's worth, Verizon says the Kin "remains an important part" of its portfolio. That said, the carrier slashed prices by as much as 50% over the weekend, and that sure screams fire sale to us.

Even with the lower hardware prices, the Kin probably won't fly off shelves. Besides missing features, the biggest complaint we've heard is that the monthly fee is as high as more capable devices, such as the iPhone and Android-based smartphones, which also happen to be more appealing to the Kin's target demographic of teens and twenty-somethings.