Comeback Kids: Microsoft Kin – Design is Everything
The Microsoft Kin, incarnated in the form of the Kin One and the Kin Two, its larger sibling (next of Kin, get it?), launched in April of 2010 was originally intended to be a Social Networking smart phone, based on the fact that it was launched in a night club with neon green festoons back in April of 2009. This was effectively a tell-tale sign of its intended target demographic: Generation Y [ages 14 to 27] and Generation X [ages 28 to 45] who are into Social Networking, albeit apps already existed that made most smart phone Social Networking ready. Based on technology from smart phone maker Danger, makers of the T-Mobile SideKick, a company which Microsoft acquired for a pretty penny, the Microsoft Kin One and Kin Two Social Networking smart phones made by Korean smart phone maker Sharp failed because it was cursed from the beginning, if you believe in technology curses.
The T-Mobile Sidekick was the subject of a recent data failure earlier in 2008, proof to all dry and sundry that Data Failures are taken rather seriously by dedicated users of a device upon which they depend, especially if their Data is backed up via the cloud [wireless Internet] on remote servers somewhere in Silicon Valley, California. Thus, one can draw from this the reason why Data Failures should be taken quite seriously, as unlike failures in Voice Telecom Services, Data Telecom Service failures affect a crowd that is a lot more educated and not so easily pleased by sooth-saying Customer Care Representatives with little knowledge of how their company’s services work. Despite the minor foibles of missing a calendar and abnormally high Data Plan fees on Verizon 3G Network when compared to more capable smart phones as postulated by CNET Reporter Ina Fried, it ultimately may have been the history of such Data Failures that scared off an initial mass adoption of the product, hence the less than stellar performance of the Microsoft Kin.
Proof of this is that the product is now being relaunched on Verizon in November 2010 as a “feature” phone sans Verizon’s US$30 Data Plan, the Social Networking features such as Kin Spot, Kin Loop and the Kin Studio being completely gutted from the phones design. Ultimately, Microsoft needs to make better purchasing decisions or at least, product design decisions, instead of copying a previously failed service. Stay tuned for results on how well this redesigned phones does in the fickle American Market.