Verizon is planning to close Microsoft's KIN Studio, the backbone of the cloud services for the Kin device and really the only thing that made it truly interesting. Kin Studio will be killed off on January 31, 2011, according to a leaked image posted by WPCentral.

Kin users will thus lose the ability to do everything over-the-air. Here's the image in question and its consequences:

  • Feed Reader will stop working
  • Search Near me will stop working
  • Posting Photos to social sites will no longer be possible
  • Most pictures currently on Kin will only appear at thumbnail resolution
  • Posting to Social Networks will no longer work.
  • No comments from the loop
  • Social network contacts will disappear.
  • Loop will stop to work
  • Kin Spot will only send to emails.
  • Social networks only accessed from web browser.

In other words, Verizon is planning to neuter existing Kin phones by removing them from the cloud. They'll still be able to make calls, send SMS, e-mail, browse the Web, and even stream music via Zune Pass over Wi-Fi, but they will be stripped of social networking functionality.

Verizon seems to be aware that few Kin users will like this and so it has come up with a solution: they can trade in their Kin device for a free 3G phone until March 31, 2011. This only seems to further make us wonder: why exactly did Verizon resurrect the Microsoft Kin?