As rumored, the Kin One and the Kin Two have returned to Verizon's inventory. It's still not clear if Verizon is hoping to give the Kin a second chance or if just wants to clear its inventory, but either way, the Microsoft Kin is back.
The two Kin feature phones have an extra "m" added to their names and it looks they come with significantly better pricing options. The Kin One costs $20 with a two-year contract and the Kin Two costs $50 but is also subject to a Buy One Get One Free offer (the free phone being an LG Ally). Most importantly, a data plan is not required. If you want one, however, plans start at $40 for voice and $10 for 25MB of data (or $15 a month for 150MB). There's also a $35 activation fee.
Both phones originally required smartphone data plans (Kin One required $50 in upfront costs and $70 as the minimum levy for voice plus data) which were arguably too steep for phones aimed primarily at teenagers. The included Zune Pass is still present on both though it's on a "WiFi and sideload only" basis, so 3G streaming is a no go. It's good to hear that Verizon has finally realized that a required per month data plan is too much for a feature phone.
That being said, the Microsoft Kin was one of the biggest failures in the mobile industry this year, given that it was pulled after only three months on the market. Even with the improvements Verizon has made, we can't help but wonder if the Kin comeback is bound to fail as well. Windows Phone is, after all a much better alternative and teenagers tend to use smartphones, not feature phones.