Microsoft’s Kin was available online on May 6th. Now, it’s in Verizon’s stores. A week is a year on the Internets.
I like the Kin. For that matter, I like every new phone that comes out because, phones are like lollipops: they’re bright, shiny, colorful, and for the most part, easily digestible. However, the Kin does have a few extra things going for it: Microsoft and Robbie Bach, iPhone fatigue, and Android support, or the lack thereof.
Microsoft and Robbie Bach. That’s Xbox people. They took on established players in the console business and a few billion dollars later, no one doubts Microsoft’s right to sit at the consumer electronics table with Sony and Nintendo. That’s pretty amazing when you consider the fact that neither Robbie nor Microsoft are Japanese. Or, really cool. Or, consumerish.
iPhone fatigue is spreading. For no other reason than the over saturation of mind-share by Apple’s PR. Too much. And too much means that people are ready for an alternative. Heck, it doesn’t have to be as good or as fun or as brilliant, just an alternative.
Android support. The one big problem facing Google and its Android platform is that Google isn’t built to be a services company. A professional services company. It has a long way to go to be competitive with Microsoft in that regard, or even HP for that matter, now that it has bought Palm into its fold. Apple is fortunate to be an end to end solution with a very definable role in terms of the platform, and even Apple isn’t that great at supporting outside developers.
Then, there’s pricing.Kin One is available for $49.99, and Kin Two is available for $99.99, both after a $100 mail-in rebate with a two-year customer agreement. That’s not cheap, but well within the reach of the teenage audience the products target. You’d know this if you’re nephew was emailing you his wish list for the year (birthday, Christmas, Guilty Absent Uncle Day). In addition, by going young, Microsoft is banking on building its own fan base for the former Project Pink platform, and building on that relationship over time. So, no aging hipsters for them. You hear, Apple?
And there’s the problem right there: without aging hipsters, there may not be enough blog posts to make Kin popular.