Kin OneM/TwoM firmware issues: Verizon/Microsoft update wishlist
fisharefriends
Contributor - Level 3

Now, before i provide any false hopes, i have to say, that this is only a wishlist. It is my hopes that Verizon and/or Microsoft will take notice, though, and sort out the firmware bugs/poor software design and make this phone behave to its maximum potential. Microsoft, it really could become the next great feature phone, and while i know you don't care much about that market, just remember that the majority of phone users don't have a data plan, and this can be the next best thing.

That said, here is a quick list it threw together. Many of them are firmware bugs, many of them are features that any other feature phone, even ones from 5 years ago, had.

 

***please read this before posting: before adding your bug reports, and common feature wishlists, read through what has already been posted, to avoid duplicates. Also, remember that this is just a firmware update..so do not ask for applications, windows 7 mobile, or other features that would make it a different phone altogether. Keep it simple, keep it to standard features that other feature phones have.***

 

I want to thank you (Microsoft/Verizon) for creating this product/providing your services, and hope that you (Microsoft/Verizon) take the time to read through this thread and take into account the requests/desires of your customers. Thanks.

 

* many of these comments are of features the phone does not have, and things it cannot/does not do, despite 99% of feature phones being able to, and are the desire for them to be fixed/added to the phone.

  • cannot delete individual messages, nor select the individual messages, or view their info (every other phone can do this)
  • cannot forward messages, resend (i use this a lot, and then add other contacts, to 'forward' a message but still being able to edit parts of it), or save as quick texts
  • cannot save or use 'quick texts': it would be very, very positive to be able to send a saved quick text without opening the keyboard.
  • No contact groups: its a simple fix really, every other phone that you sell has this ability. It would also be very nice to be able to add these groups to the favorites menu.
  • cannot select emails to message from contacts. Any other phone, you would be able to select any of the data entries (all numbers, and emails, etc) and call, or message them. Whether it goes through or not, that would be for the user to figure out, but you should be able to select emails from the 'add recipients' menu of texting.
  • Volume keys do not lock upon phone lock. Yes, this phone is used as a music player..but really, volume keys should lock when the phone is locked. In fact, they are near the most important keys you want to keep locked. perhaps make a check, if a video, or music is playing in the background, then don't have the volume keys lock, or just make it an option in settings, but 90% of us expect the volume to stay what we set it as when we lock the phone.
  • Alarms cannot vibrate only. They also do not silence/vibrate when set to vibrate only.
  • Cannot delete or rename ringtones. Along the same lines, cannot 'edit' ringtones, as in move them to correct categories (between melodies, alarms, and alerts). There is also no 'vibrate only' tone. Yes, there is a vibrate sound setting, but that does not allow for example, setting messages to only vibrate, but have calls still play a ringtone.
  • Phone does not have access to backup assist. This is your own program, you would think that it would work..
  • no back button on touch screen. would be as simple as adding a 'square' similar to the recent and time buttons, that appear over the rest of the interface. for those who wouldn't want it, just make an option to turn it on or off
  • dialer sounds do not turn off, even when you turn off system sounds (contrary to what the manual says, and the general description of the setting).
  • When pushing buttons when the phone is locked (see screensaver, time), you cannot see the entire time 'dashboard', unless you wait 5 seconds and have the clock minimize. I use my phone for checking the date a lot..and with such a large screen, would it really be a pain to have the entire dashboard appear by default? I would much rather check the date, time, battery, wireless connections, than see the same screensaver that  i know i put there. If anything, this should be a setting under 'screen lock', to show the dashboard, or just the mini clock like it is now.
  • the linking contacts functionality doesn't quite work. When you link 2 or contacts, it removes all the linked contacts (except the main one) from the contact list. Also, when selecting the linked contacts, it does not display their names; only their numbers, and how many of you actuallly  memorize phone numbers?
  • Phone cannot display messages in strictly time-order. Most phones i know of that do have threaded messages, also have the option of displaying them by time (the 'standard' way). The Kin phones cannot do this..and i do not know why.
  • no vibrate settings. does not have different pulses, constant vibrates, etc. Would be nice to be able to 'feel' whether you are getting a call, message, alarm, calendar, voicemail, reminder, etc.
  • A general lack of screen, sound customizations/settings. Many phones allow you to custom set the ringtones, vibrate options, and reminder options (after certain amount of time) for calls, missed calls, alerts, voicemail, etc. but this phone cannot. A simple example, look at the samsung intensity II. It is not a complex phone, but it has these basic customizations, and no 2 people like the same phone settings, so allowing customization really would help.
  • inability to use FM radio without headphones. yes, the headphones act as an antenna, but instead of completely disabling the radio when no headphones are plugged in, simply add a warning box that says the signal is weak without headphones. I personally believe that the phone has enough of a reciever to pick up FM signals..but maybe it doesn't have any internal FM signal reciever, and i'm just blowing smoke.
  • Cannot use flash as flashlight. A simple task, just allow the user to turn the flash on, and use it as a flashlight.. Yes, it will drain the battery, but i'd assume the user would know that before using it for that purpose.
  • This is a little more complex, since it is essentially adding another 'app'..but the phone does not have notes. From my experience though, every other phone does.
  • another 'more than fix': allowing the phone to reply to texts/type with the touchscreen, even if it was as simple as a regular keypad. Just add T9/iTap, and then put a keyboard button on the screen (like the clock button, or recent button, which is actually quite useless) that would pop up the numerical keypad to use without opening the phone. Not that complicated, most other touchscreen slider phones have this ability.
  • cannot search contacts with touchscreen. Again, as simple as adding the dialing pad as a selectable box to pop up an on-screen dial pad to be used at any time, but this is particularly important when searching through contacts.
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48 Replies
leslieoeser
Newbie

With all due respect, I did install Zune properly on two different computers. My photos do NOT appear in Zune, just white boxes. In the last few hours I've read numerous forums, many of which seem to confirm that Kin phones are duds. People have also posted copies of letters they got from Verizon offering a free 3G phone of their choice to replace the Kin.

I haven't received a letter, but I will be inquiring about this offer when I go to my local Verizon store. I'm not trying to get a free upgrade..I don't necessarily want a 3G phone, because I don't want to pay for a data plan. What was so great about the Kin was that it had a great camera and didn't require a data plan.

Shame on Microsoft and Sharp for rushing the Kin Twom phone out in to the market, just to render it a standard phone once the Cloud was removed. Shame on Verizon for selling the phones, when they were likely aware of the Kin Studio issue.

Shame on me for not reading forums before purchasing the phone.

 

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SydneyK
Master - Level 3

The exchange program is for customers who bought the original Kin, which requires a a data plan even though the online services will no longer be available. It's apparent from your reply that you don't want help with the Kin Twom and have made up your mind, so yes, you should definitely return it ASAP.

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fisharefriends
Contributor - Level 3

leslie:

 

I think you have greatly confused the m models of the phones with the original models of the Kin phones, which REQUIRED a data plan. Yes, they are 'regular' phones. Why? Because they are priced like regular (feature) phones. You really can't get a smartphone, without paying for a smartphone (legally). I get the big impression that that is what you were expecting. Yes, it never was planned to use the studio. And Yes, SydneyK is right, you can successfully transfer phones to a pc with the Zune software. It is quick auto-sync, and then the files are on your computer. I am an owner of the Kin Twom, and it has been working with Zune software flawlessly for 2 months. The m model phones were never designed to work with the Studio. That was specifically what was removed from them. Using the studio obviously requires a data connection, which is why Verizon originally required a data plan for the Kin phones. And they were nothing compared to other smartphones, which is why they failed. Now, they're feature phones (no data), what you call 'regular' phones, and they're the best out there. Things like wifi, an amazing camera/video for a phone, those are left over from its original 'smartphone' design, which makes it in the middle ground between the 2, but being priced at the lower of the 2.

 

It does sound like you are quite disappointed with the phone though, so you probably should return it. But i will warn you, whatever you are expecting out of another phone that you expected from this phone, you will NOT get it from another phone that doesn't require data. And VCast isn't used for transferring your own photos to the computer (at least not that i'm aware of) or an online storage for that matter, it is used to download videos, pics, and stuff like that from Verizon, at a charge.

 

I do not know why your photo transfer didn't work; it seems like it was a fluke corruption of hte files. You could even have a defective device, because i know for a fact that mine transfer fine. What OS are you running with the computer? I have windows 7, and it works. Zune software works with 7, Vista, and XP (service pack 3 or higher, but doesn't work with XP 64-bit).

 

And as for the device trade-in for another 3g smartphone: again, that is for the original Kin One, and Kin Two (both at smartphone pricing, requiring data plans), not the new m model feature phones. I simply believe you have mixed the phones up, and they are indeed different phones. The reason they have this trade-in, is because they DID cancel the Studio, and are shutting it down (the notice came out, letting owners know that it was going to be shut down end of january, which is now). Those owners originally signed up for the Studio service, but because of the poor (and i mean poor..figures i've heard were less than 60,000 devices sold) sales and usage, Microsoft is just pulling the plug. They weren't well-marketed, priced phones in the first place, so as sort of a 'i'm sorry' compensation, those owners can get a new smartphone for free. But do know, that they already had a data plan, since the original Kins required them.

 

This confusion of hte phones, along with expectations without research, seem to be the thing that led you to your disappointment of hte phone. I'm sorry, it is fully true that Verizon and Microsoft didn't spend half an effort to debug and market and inform customers of the phones. But when you say shame on Verizon on not letting customers know of the 'problems' with the Kin: there weren't ever problems with the Studio. It was simply shut down recently, but for months, no new phones were sold that could even use the studio. The original Kins were the only ones that could use the studio; those were discontinued and pulled last July. The m model phones went on sale late November (never marketed to be able to use the Studio, because they never could)

 

If you read other forums, you also know that many people think that MS/Verizon simply did this re-release to clear their inventory of lots, lots of left-over phones from the originals that didn't sell. Their hardware is exact, the only difference is the new software.

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kinkurious
Newbie

I'm seriously thinking of going for a Kin TwoM.

Lotsa talk here about features existent, not existent, working well, or working poorly.

 

Question about synching photos and video with my laptop:  How does it work?

I mean, after all the hassles with Zune get worked out...

Is there a USB cable to attach phone to laptop?

If no cable, what do you use?

Is there any real 'synching' at all?

If there is synching, can you control how much is synched, or what types of files are synched?

If there's no synching, do vids or pics have to be emailed to yourself via a WIFI connection?

 

Sorry for redundancy.  This intriguing phone raises lots of questions too.

Not to mention a sense that I won't know my biggest questions until after I purchase it, due to all that odd MS/Verizon choices about what to include and what to disable.

Thanks.

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fisharefriends
Contributor - Level 3

kinkurious, regarding your questions:

 

Syncing videos and photos to your computer is done entirely with Zune software, as you stated. If you own an ipod, think of it as very very similar to how you sync ipods with iTunes. Yes, you need a usb cable to connect the phone to the computer. The phone comes with one; it is the same cable you use to charge your phone (the phone also comes with a usb-to-wall outlet adapter). There is nothing special about this cable, it is just a standard microusb-to-usb cable that you can buy online for less than 5 bucks, if you happen to lose it, or want a 2nd one, or it breaks, etc.

 

I don't know what you mean by 'real' syncing. If you mean being able to connect it to the computer and transfer files as a 'mass storage device', similar to how you do it with a flash drive or so on, then no, the Kins were locked by microsoft to only transfer by zune software (similar to how apple locked their iPods to transfer with iTunes.).

 

Through Zune software, pictures and videos and music are directly copied from the phone to the computer, it is a very basic and user-friendly interface that is as simple as auto-import and drag-and-drop exporting to the phone.

 

You can email pictures from the phone to yourself, but those pictures will be sent in a reduced quality (which also is a reduced file size). And videos can't be sent via email, unless they are taken on the spot (in other words, you can't send videos you've already taken). Hence, the only 'real' way to sync the pictures/videos is by connecting the phone with a usb cable to the computer, and using Zune software to connect and transfer the files between the 2 devices.

 

There are some very odd decisions made by Microsoft regarding this phone. It is just a matter of deciding for yourself if you can live with them, or if you would rather just switch the Kin for another phone altogether. In my opinion, the pro's outweigh the cons. Good luck, i hope you get it figured out.

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kinkurious
Newbie

I really appreciate the reply to my query.

 

Now I'm gunshy.  I first heard of this phone two days ago while on a routine call with Verizon (I'm 'new phone eligible' right now).  It sounded intriguing so I did some research and it kept sounding better and better as a fit for my needs.  I love the wireless capability and the (for me) major upgrade in pic/vid capability.  I will never purchase a smart phone with a data plan.

 

Yesterday I called Verizon back to proceed with my new Kin TwoM order.  In passing I asked about synching with my laptop - pretty much the same question I posed here.  The customer rep said there was no cable connection to do this.  I asked her if that meant the only way I could move pics and vids from my phone to my laptop was via wireless, email/txting them to myself, etc.  She said yes.  I said 'really?' and asked her if she was sure.  Yes she was sure - no cable connection for file transfer at all - but she would ask a tech guy if I would hold.  I held.  She came back with the same answer.  It made no sense to me.  So I asked here.  Here I've received a completely opposite answer.

 

Yep, my phone specs reading never provided the smoking gun I needed about this cabled synching/file transfer question.  And now faced with opposite answers to that question, I'm officially gunshy about pulling the trigger and purchasing the phone.

 

Not only that - I have no idea why I'm belaboring the firearm metaphor here.  Maybe because issues like this arise, seemingly so simple, and they make me want to shoot myself.  It just...shouldn't be...so difficult.

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fisharefriends
Contributor - Level 3

kinkurious, i am sorry for hte misleading information you were provided. You will learn quickly that Verizon Reps know almost nothing about the Kin phones, and often provide wrong information. And other times, they provide an answer that doesn't even answer the question that was asked, or they answer it as a broad statement that doesn't address the question specifically for the Kins. So, i would stick to what you hear from actual owners; it is a shame that Verizon as a company didn't even properly inform their representatives, which in turn have to help out customers, on a product that they sell. Sometimes it is the employee's poor work ethic that keeps them from knowing proper company info and product info; but regarding the Kins, it is a widespread problem and it is on Verizon as a whole in not informing/'training' their employees about them. They definitely have a vendetta against them.

 

Yes, there is a connection cable, yes it can connect to a computer, through Zune software. I will confirm this to you, 100%.

 

Don't you worry, i would want all the information i could get about a product before i bought it too :smileywink: Here's a link to another post i made a while back that will hopefully provide you with most the features of the phone, as well as pro's and cons and help you make your decision. Good luck!

http://community.vzw.com/t5/KIN/Kin-TwoM-Review-FAQ-Q-amp-A-troubleshooting-etc/td-p/347662

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kinkurious
Newbie

The mother of all links.

Thanks - cover me - I'm going in tomorrow.

If all goes well, my Kin TwoM will be in the order chute by sundown.

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fisharefriends
Contributor - Level 3

i got your back :smileywink:

 

Hopefully you will be satisfied :smileyhappy: If not, Verizon's return policy is 30 days, but there is a $35 restocking fee.

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leslieoeser
Newbie

fisharefriends, thank you for trying to help. I bought the Kin phone so I wouldn't need a data package, and that's why I'm not trying to get a smartphone for free now. That never was my diabolical plan.  

Bottom line is that I downloaded Zune software (I have Vista) and it doesn't work.

I liked my Env3 fine and am getting an Octane instead. I'm glad you've had a good experience with a Kin phone, but I read more reviews from people like me who are having problems.

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fisharefriends
Contributor - Level 3

No i understand. Hope you are more satisfied with that phone!

 

I was just trying to clear it up, that the trade-in was only targeted to owners of the original Kin (sold last summer), not the new m model phones (which is what you purchased). And that was due to their planned shutdown of the studio (i believe you read some wrong information somewhere regarding the m model phones being able to use the studio, because they never could), which was a service for those original kins. So even if you wanted to trade in, you couldn't.

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uberpatsfan
Newbie

Thanks, fish for this very comprehensive list.  Here are a few more from my perspective:

  - I second the request for a soft "back" button. 

  - I also have to complain about the volume buttons.  I continue to miss calls because the volume turns down in my pocket or when I handle the phone!

  - The Recent button is worthless for me, too, and gets in the way.

  - I'm falling in like with the Zune player.  But, it cannot take DRM protected audiobooks (even though real zune players say they can).  This is a crucial feature for me. Please make the Kin show as an MTP device on my computer like most other MP3 players and I can work around it (I've poked at the registry settings with no luck).

   - I can't say this enough: CONTACTS, CONTACTS, CONTACTS.  I need to sync my contacts to the phone and back them up when I add more.

    -Really?  A Microsoft product with calendar and contacts that can't sync to Outlook calendar or contacts or any calendar for that matter? Really?

 

 

Two wishes:  1) Microsoft or VZW please acknowledge these posts whether you intend to do anything or not.  2) Microsoft, write a little computer program that allows me to sync contacts, mail, with my computer (something to replace Kin studio).

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soundessential

Since it's unlikely that they'll provide any updates for this phone, it would be nice if they could unlock it and let us contribute fixes and apps for it. I know that they used this for development:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsembedded/en-us/products/windowsce/silverlightforwe.mspx

Using C++

 

Now if they could make this somewhat of an open source project. I would totally contribute to it. This is no Windows Phone 7 but it is a phone that's easy to fall in love with, even with it's quirks.

 

Thanks,

Jerry

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KeepOnSingin
Newbie

Although it's a bit annoying to do, if you record video in night mode, the flash is on and thus can be used as a flashlight.

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fisharefriends
Contributor - Level 3

That would seem like the logical thing for them to do.. Microsoft, if you are indeed just letting the kin phones die out, you really should make the firmware open-source. If not, and you are trying to revitalize the phones, then its understandable that you don't release the source, but i doubt you don't know about its problems, so release an update. Most of these issues aren't too hard to solve (and thats coming from me, who knows 'scratch of the surface' amounts of programming).

 

As for the flashlight, i knew that worked, but that is only a workaround for them not providing a way to turn it on independently in the first place.

 

Perhaps they will release the source sometime in the future (about the same likelyhood that they will update it themselves, but both would make my day and add loads to the phone's quality), but no matter who would be able to make fixes, i'll still continue providing a list.

 

Added bugs:

  • Cannot access video files from outside the zune (to see its info, send it in a message, etc). The only way to send a video via email/mms is to send a live-take video. Just make it so you can view the initial thumbnail when clicking on the video, and then have the same properties to it as you would have to photos, then a play button inside.
  • cannot switch settings mid-video shoot. Say, if you want to turn off night mode/flash, you can't just pause the video, and then switch the setting, and then start again.
  • No copy-paste of text. This software is fully capable of doing this...but there is not option to do so. With a browser, and messages/emails, you would think they would allow you to copy-paste text. Although it is true that most feature phones cannot copy-paste either.
  • in the browser, the back button does not remain within the browser. Yes, globally the back button is used as the entire phone's back button, but it really should remain a browser 'back' function when in the browser. You can always hold it to go back to the home, which is where you go from hitting back in the browser anyways, so it should be dedicated to the same function that the back arrow has on the html address line. It is very annoying when you want to go back more than 1 page, to have to tap the bar every single time after each page has loaded, to go back another page. If anything, the back button on the html line should be a quick-history dropbox of say, the last 5 pages you visited, and then the physical back button should take over as the standard back button.
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KeepOnSingin
Newbie

I've never had a phone that has a flash you can turn out without the camera...in fact, I didn't even know that they existed! My phone's screen itself is what I've always used as a flashlight...works just fine IMO.

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fisharefriends
Contributor - Level 3

well, you have a point. I've only owned 1 other phone, and it didn't have a flash/flashlight, as most feature phones don't either. I just know smartphone applications that can do this. So you're right, its not too bad, better than what i've ever used, but its also not very hard to add.

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fisharefriends
Contributor - Level 3
  • cannot turn off camera shutter, it only turns off when you silence the entire phone.
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Pammy
Contributor - Level 1

Additional Fixes:

 

- No ability to change the size of the Font.  This is VERY important to a lot of people, especially those who's eyes aren't as   

  good as they used to be.    Changing the color and type of font would also be helpful.

 

- No acknowledgement that text has been delivered.  Also a very important feature missed. 

 

 

Thank you Microsoft for getting a LOT of things right with this phone.  Just need to fix some very basic features that you missed, that have been around for years on the vast majority of feature phones.

 

 

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salai
Newbie

Don't think I saw these-- to add on:

 

-Predictive text of some sort would be great

 

-Ability to send an MMS to an email address with a Subject Line would be great (my old feature phone allowed this, even though it didn't have an emailing function).

 

As for the flashlight feature, most cheap phones in Europe and Asia have built-in flashlights, though in the U.S., it seems to be a smartphone thing. The video workaround seems okay though.

 

I agree with the poster who suggested Verizon opened up the phone to open source updates... PLEASE???

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dstor
Enthusiast - Level 3

Angry Birds, Just kidding

No. I'm not.

Actually I would really like to see (and forgive me if I missed this if someone else already mentioned it) a recent call log tab when you open up the phone "app" ,ie when you get to dialer screen.

Plus what everyone else already said

...and World Peace

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