Microsoft probably could have picked a better time to launch its Kin line of mobile phones, especially with the focus of the tech world right now being on the iPhone 4, flawed or not. It appears as if the company is already ready to price these things into consumers’ pockets.
The Kin One will drop from $49 to $29 with a two-year commitment from Verizon, while the Kin Two drops to $49 from $99. Each phone requires a $29 per month or higher data plan, so their cost of ownership from a service standpoint is about the same as the iPhone.
Verizon is playing it off as part of a set of price reductions across its entire lineup, however most times when you see a price drop this early into a product’s lifespan, it has something to do with poor sales or not meeting certain goals.
Even with a fairly robust marketing effort, Microsoft has seemingly failed to grab those of us out there who may not want an iPhone but are in the market for a smartphone overall. Ina Fried at Cnet has relayed a story of one Verizon Wireless store that claims sales are so bad that even older Palm Pre devices are outselling it. That’s not good.
I have played with the Kin One, and can say for the first time I am truly impressed with a Windows-powered mobile device. Yes, it does have some quirks such as issues with how the touch-enabled area operates, but these are not showstoppers.
Maybe the problem is that consumers are increasingly seeing Microsoft as losing its innovative touch, and thus paying attention more to its competitors. It’s a shame, I think: the Kin should be able to do well on it’s own merits.