Unbelievably, against all odds and better judgment, we are able to independently confirm that Microsoft's short-lived Kin One and Kin Two are coming back for an encore performance on Verizon, possibly as soon as this quarter -- but it won't quite be the same product you remember from earlier this year. The phones were famously bashed for the unrealistic plan pricing model that put them head-to-head with actual, full-fledged smartphones -- despite the fact that the devices were targeted squarely at tweens, teens, and twentysomethings -- and we're hearing that the revised phones will be totally, completely debundled from data services. Data-centric features like the Loop "are out," we're told -- but the good news is that you'll still be able to use one of the product's most redeeming qualities, Zune Pass, over WiFi if you're not signed up for a proper data plan. Of course, the value proposition of a Kin without... well, without its only value proposition is questionable at best, so we're thinking this might just be a way to clear huge backlogs of hardware inventory before pulling the plug on the program. Seriously, who wants a Kin without the unlimited photo uploads?
*Verizon has acquired AOL, Engadget's parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.