Saturday, July 3, 2010

Microsoft Kin: RIP == Social Networks:RIP (?)

Microsoft Kin 04/2010-06/2010

Microsoft is phasing out its social-network/cloud storage-heavy Kin smart phone just 2 months after launch. This embarrassing report from CNN claims that the Microsoft+Verizon Kin sold less than 10000 units in the two months. RIP Kin.

I never got around to using the Kin, but apparently the market didn't see the justification for the expensive data plan (>=$29 p.m.) tagged on to the Kin by Verizon. The market was supposed to be teens looking to stay connected via social networks, but they did not bite into the insanely high data-plan tariff. Social networking, it seems, is not worth that much to them. How much is it worth anyway?

Lets not belittle the effort Microsoft put into this device - as a product the Kin was fully functional and seemed to do the things you would expect from this sort of device - Internet social networking, cloud storage and syncing of users' data, a built in Zune player, sleek design, etc. And at under $100 (with a data plan) it had a low entry barrier too. It seems like all the pieces were there but the Kin machine never got off the ground.

I don't know if the lack of a credible app store spelt the end for the Kin. What I do know is that social networking apps completely failed to drive sales. Next time someone uses social networking as the use-case for a device or service that is supposed to make money, say - Kin!