Microsoft's Kin One and Two will be available to prospective buyers within days, though the pricing and data plans seem to fall in an awkward spot for a device the companies are targeting at teens. Microsoft announced Wednesday that the two devices would be available on Verizon Wireless' website as of May 6 and show up in stores on May 13. After a $100 mail-in rebate and a new two-year contract with Verizon, the Kin One will cost $49.99 and the Two will cost $99.99.
Microsoft unveiled its latest foray into the mobile market last month: a successor to the Danger Sidekick running Microsoft's own software based on Windows Phone 7. The Kin One is a small touchscreen QWERTY slider phone with 4GB of flash memory for storage and a 5 megapixel camera optimized for low-light use. The Kin Two, on the other hand, is a larger, more traditional-looking QWERTY slider, with a larger, wider touchscreen. It has 8GB of storage and an 8 megapixel camera that can shoot 720p HD video.
The idea is to go after the lucrative and impressionable teen market with these almost-but-not-quite-smartphone devices—after all, this is where the Sidekick excelled during its heyday. However, the pricing (and more importantly, the service plans) could put a damper on widespread adoption among teenagers. As noted by mocoNews, the $100 mail-in rebate comes back in the form of a debit card, not a check, so those $50 and $100 price tags truly are more like $150 and $200. On top of that, Verizon's voice and data plans for the Kin cost a minimum of $60 per month. And that's not taking into account the extras, like a Zune music subscription and whatever else may be tacked on.
Price tags like those may not be attractive enough to get teens to ditch what they know and try something new. The iPod touch is already acting as a gateway drug to the iPhone for the younger generation, and an iPhone 3G can be had for $99 without rebate and comes with a similarly-priced voice-plus-data plan. That's not to say that all teenagers lust after iPhones, but Microsoft and Verizon appear to be missing an opportunity to combine smart-looking phones with an attractive cost of entry.
Source: ars technica