Microsoft’s new Kin phones are now available for order, and early reviews are starting to appear. The Kin isn’t Windows Mobile or Windows Phone 7, but I think it clearly shows the direction that Microsoft is headed. This week we’ll discuss that, and I’ll point you to the reviews.
Microsoft Kin Phone Reviews
The Kin phones went on sale online on May 6, and will be in stores on May 13. The compact Kin One (320x240 screen), with a pull-down thumboard, is $50 after rebate. The Kin Two, which has a larger screen (480x320) and slideout QWERTY keyboard — a form factor similar to the Touch Pro and Touch Pro2 is $100 after rebate. The data package from Verizon is $30 per month.
Some of the first reviews of the Kin are trashing it, but these reviewers may expect it to be a Smartphone, which it's not attempting to be.
As we’ve been noting in earlier columns, the Kin phones are social networking phones directed squarely at young people who are very active socially, spending a lot of time on Facebook, sending lots of text messages, and sharing photos. This is definitely a niche product. So let’s take a look at it.
As usual, PocketNow offers a great unboxing and demo video of the Kin Two, the model with a larger screen.
The Washington Post has a helpful overview of the Kin One. Their conclusion? The headline says it all: “Fun Software, Clunky Design.” Engadget has an excellent and detailed review, but a sobering conclusion: “there are much better choices for much less money on the market.” The review does a good job explaining that the phone’s niche is somewhere between a smartphone and a high-spec featurephone.
PhoneScoop also has a very thorough review, and a similar conclusion: “Quite frankly, I haven’t been this disappointed in a phone in a long time.” Windows Phone Thoughts describes the phones as “dead on arrival.” Whew.
Microsoft Kin and Microsoft’s New Direction
I think these phones will succeed and are a good example of the new path that Microsoft is taking. Frankly, the Windows Mobile platform has been in dramatic decline. These earlier phones were like little computers, extremely versatile and filled with functionality. But like a computer, there was a learning curve.
The iPhone changed everything. Apple deliberately kept it simple. There’s no file system, for example, and not even any way to organize apps into folders or directories. Yet the...