Microsoft's recently released KIN phones, which are loosely based on the upcoming Windows Phone platform, haven't gotten off to a fast start in the marketplace. So Verizon Wireless, the exclusive KIN provider in the United States, is cutting prices. And Microsoft plans to update the KIN's software this summer to fix issues and add new features.
Verizon dropped the price of both KIN models, which include the small KIN One and the candybar-shaped KIN Two. The price cuts are pretty dramatic, too, suggesting that these devices haven't been selling particularly well. The KIN One, originally priced at $150 (with a $100 mail-in rebate), is now just $29.99. And the KIN Two, originally priced at $200 (also with a $100 rebate), is now just $49.99.
These prices are only the tip of the iceberg: As with true smartphones, the KIN devices require a full data plan, so the actual monthly cost is roughly the same as their more full-featured rivals (or about $70-$80 a month and up). This is the real problem with KIN: Though they can't do as much as real smartphone, they're still just as expensive.
Unfortunately, unless Verizon cuts the price of the KIN's monthly plans, this phone is never going to take off in a marketplace dominated by the iPhone and several Android devices. And that's a shame, because the KIN is actually a decent little phone. It's just no smartphone.
The content of the KIN's first major software update is still largely unknown, but a Microsoft representative said that it was "in the works" and would ship "mid-summer." According to some reports, this update will fix bugs and add some new features, including the ability to reply to and retweet Twitter posts and view more than three Facebook photos.