KIN Review round-up: Microsoft should have canceled the project ?

The first KIN reviews are popping up today and the general consensus is that the products just doesn’t have a place in the market now. It isn’t that the hardware is bad or that the software lacks several key features (both aren’t stellar and having a Tegra APX2600 is useless if it can’t be used for anything remotely interesting…), what kills it is the fact that both devices will be priced like smartphones and with smartphone data plans even though they are far from being such phones (no calendar,no gps mapping, no productivity suie etc..). Ever since the announcement last month I (and virtually every other website out there) said that in light of the current market and lack of features of the KIN phones (and now that Windows Phone 7 is announced and heavyly consumer oriented); KIN’s only saving grace will be the price of the hardware and the data plan associated with it. Unfortunately, Verizon and Microsoft have decided to screw the whole thing up:

To get the most from KIN, Verizon Wireless customers will need to subscribe to a Verizon Wireless Nationwide Talk plan and an Email and Web for Smartphone plan. Nationwide Talk plans begin at $39.99 monthly access. Email and Web for Smartphone plans start at $29.99 for unlimited monthly access.

Who the hell would pay for a KIN One or KIN Two $49.99 and $99.99 respectively after a $100 mail-in rebate when you can get an iPhone 3GS, HTC Legend or a Palm Pre PLus for a similar price?
I still stand by what I said a little while ago: Microsoft didn’t have the balls to can the project last year (especially after “wasting” $500M on Danger). Now let’s forget about all this and integrate Kin Studio into Windows Phone 7 please.

Here’s Engadget‘s conlusion:

You could get a Pre Plus — an immeasurably better phone with much of the social networking integration of the Kin devices — for $29 coupled with a smartphone and voice plan. Or you could spend a little more upfront and get a BlackBerry Tour 9630, Droid, Incredible, or Droid Eris — all much, much better phones with excellent social networking options. The list really goes on — and again, if you were a teenager or young adult with all of these great options laid out before you, the idea of choosing this severely limited device which doesn’t do a single thing better than even the most basic Android device is kind of crazy. Microsoft has hinted that it wants to shake up the text-centric featurephone market with Kin, but guess what? You categorically cannot even fathom to do that when you’re charging for smartphone data. It’s insulting to suggest otherwise.

And that about sums it up — there are much better choices for much less money on the market, and Microsoft hasn’t demonstrated to us why you would choose this phone over those. You could argue that the 720p video recording is a hook, but our results weren’t that outstanding, and we don’t know anyone who needs HD video on a phone so desperately that they’re willing to overlook all of these faults. In the end, we’re left with two orphan devices — phones that feel like they should have been killed before they made it to market, but somehow slipped through. It’s clear to us from conversations we’ve had with Microsoft that there are people at the company with good ideas about what phones should and shouldn’t do, but we don’t feel the Kin is representative of those ideas. The execution (or lack thereof) on these products makes us legitimately concerned about what the company will do with Windows Phone 7. We can only hope that the similarities between those devices and the Kin handsets don’t stretch much further than the “Windows Phone” label, because in our estimation, Kin is one side of the family that needs to be disowned… quickly.


This bizarre pricing will make potential Kin buyers’ minds jump from messaging phones, which the Kin compares favorably to, to thoughts of smartphones, with app stores and full mapping and real browsers. Droids. The similar looking Pre. Or a BlackBerry. The stuff that you might not consider if you were considering a phone like the Kin in the first place—overkill!—but which Verizon has made you consider by not giving these handsets the pricing they deserve, instead opting to pit them against monstrous foes, endangering the Kin concept, and slowing our inevitable progress toward cloud services like Studio.

As a dumbphone killer, the Kin is an easy pitch. As a smartphone competitor, it’s hopeless.

Pocketnow‘s video: