Verizon Wireless dropping the price of the Kin

The Kin, Microsoft's attempt at a social phone, didn't catch on quite like the software giant had hoped. There were a lot of complaints from reviewers when the phone was first released. In an attempt to help improve adoption, Best Buy lowered the price of the Kin One and Two by $50. Now it seems that Verizon is following suit and are preparing to drop the price of the Kin One and Two.

According to the Boy Genius Report, Verizon Wireless will be dropping the prices of the two Kin models to $29.99 for the Kin One and $49.99 for the Kin Two and offering a buy one, get another phone of equal or lesser value free. The prices drops follow a rumor from Business Insider that Microsoft has only sold about 500 Kins.

Microsoft introduced the Kin devices in May this year. Reviews for Microsoft's Kin phones have been mixed, but one thing almost everyone agreed on was that paying for smartphone level data plans was too much for the relatively feature deficient devices targeted at the younger population. The minimum you'll pay under Verizon is $70 per month, which the intended market may find too steep. The new price drops may encourage a small amount of customers to purchase the devices but until the monthly cost drops Microsoft and Verizon are unlikely to shift a lot of these phones. Despite a strong focus on social networking and the convenience of full cloud backup, the price per month is still simply too high for teens.

Along with the Kin, Verizon will also be dropping the price of the Moto Droid X to $199.99, the LG enV Touch to $49.99, the Blackberry Storm II $149.99 and the Nokia Twist to $49.99.

verizon price drop

Image Source: Boy Genius Report

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For a company with such tight connections with HTC... they could have produced a great phone... instead... we have Kin.... MS Fail.

Nashy said,
For a company with such tight connections with HTC... they could have produced a great phone... instead... we have Kin.... MS Fail.

And look at why it's failing. It is failing for reasons having nothing to do with the features, or even the cost of the plans the phone is sold with. (Worse, phones that cost more are outselling it.) So tell us, geniuses - why is the KIN Two being outsold by more expensive handsets that cost the same in terms of required plans from the same provider in the same market (teens and tweens)?

Do these things even make phone calls? If my parents gave me one of these I would laugh before I smacked them. This is too expensive for a sexting device.

These phones (at least the Kin 2 does) have better hardware specs than the iPhone 3GS. The underlying OS is capable of running apps as sophisticated as the entire Zune HD UI as well as its component apps, including the Zune's media player and FM radio. That's on top of the Loop and Spot features, as well as synching with Kin Studio. The OS is also capable of receiving over the air updates to the UI as well downloads of new features, such as the planned addition of IM applications. These phones have all of these capabilities, yet these aren't smartphones because it doesn't have a trivial calendar app or because you aren't able to download some retarded fart app written by some script kiddie?

Really? The Kin OS can be updated with sophisticated apps written by professional developers employed by Microsoft, yet it's not a smartphone. On the other hand, if you can download a bug-ridden, free third-party app funded by ads, that makes it a smartphone?

Let's imagine for a second that Verizon had a tiered data plan based on bandwidth usage. Which mobile phone user do you supposed would have a higher monthly bill?

1. A Kin phone user that's constantly receiving social network updates, synching photos and videos with Kin Studio, and streaming songs with Zune Pass.

2. A typical Android or iPhone user that downloads apps from an app store.

If it's the Kin user, should he/she receive some sort of discount because the phone using all that bandwidth is not really considered a "smartphone"?

No, I personally don't own one of these phones, but I don't see what the fuss is about a lack of an app store. I used a BlackBerry for years without downloading anything or using any of third-party apps after playing around with some of the apps I downloaded within the first couple of days of owning it. I now own a Droid, and I rarely bother using any of the downloaded third-party apps. I mostly use the built-in browser, send email, and I occasionally use the navigation feature. I consider Google Navigation the killer app for Android, but I rarely have a need for it (although it's very useful when I do need it).

IMO, the killer app for the Kin phones is the integration with Kin Studio. This would be another feature I personally wouldn't benefit from much since I don't take too many pictures, but I can see the value of the service. This feature is what Microsoft and Verizon should be focusing on--not that social networking crap since every phone nowadays has something equivalent. However, Kin Studio is unique, and it is the one feature that justifies the cost of the Verizon data plan.

The phone is ugly as sin and is marketed at tweenagers. Parents may be willing to pay extra for their own smartphone plans, but for their teen? Yeah right...

The phone pricing is fine, its the data plan that is the ultimate deal breaker. It may use as much data as a regular smartphone...but IMO if you are paying the price of a smartphone service plan, then investing in the smartphone you want to use shouldn't be an issue. Whether the price for the phone is $29 or $299, it is a small amount compared to the >$2000 you will spend in the two years you are on contract for it. Might as well get the phone capable of meeting all your needs. If the KIN does that for you, then good for you. Pay the same price for that POS that I spend on my iPhone.

Shadrack said,
The phone is ugly as sin and is marketed at tweenagers. Parents may be willing to pay extra for their own smartphone plans, but for their teen? Yeah right...

The phone pricing is fine, its the data plan that is the ultimate deal breaker. It may use as much data as a regular smartphone...but IMO if you are paying the price of a smartphone service plan, then investing in the smartphone you want to use shouldn't be an issue. Whether the price for the phone is $29 or $299, it is a small amount compared to the >$2000 you will spend in the two years you are on contract for it. Might as well get the phone capable of meeting all your needs. If the KIN does that for you, then good for you. Pay the same price for that POS that I spend on my iPhone.

Typical douche-y comment from a typical insecure iSheep. A mobile phone's purpose is to provide a good display and good input device in a portable form factor. Oh, and good call quality on a network whose coverage map isn't like swiss cheese matters too. Only a loser trying to erase the bad memories of being a socially inept nerd in high school would give a rat's ass about how good a phone looks. It's a f*cking phone! Newsflash: if you were loser before you bought an iPhone, you're still a loser now.

Good for you that an iPhone meets all your needs, but a Kin offers a different subset of features that the iPhone with all its 200,000 apps can't do. Maybe there aren't very many people that care about constantly synching photos and videos with the cloud or getting unlimited streaming music for a flat monthly fee, but if there are people that do, their bandwidth usage will be much greater than a typical smartphone user. In the eyes of Verizon, the data packets are data packets. It doesn't matter to the intrastructure if the bandwidth is used by a Kin user or by an iLoser hanging out a Starbuck's all day thinking that he's now part of some hip "in crowd".

Shadrack said,
The phone is ugly as sin and is marketed at tweenagers. Parents may be willing to pay extra for their own smartphone plans, but for their teen? Yeah right...

The phone pricing is fine, its the data plan that is the ultimate deal breaker. It may use as much data as a regular smartphone...but IMO if you are paying the price of a smartphone service plan, then investing in the smartphone you want to use shouldn't be an issue. Whether the price for the phone is $29 or $299, it is a small amount compared to the >$2000 you will spend in the two years you are on contract for it. Might as well get the phone capable of meeting all your needs. If the KIN does that for you, then good for you. Pay the same price for that POS that I spend on my iPhone.

As you pointed out, it's not the plan cost; it's not even the handset cost (especially given that the KIN replaced the original Storm as the lowest-priced VZW smartphone). The phone is not Android-based or from Apple, which is unfortunately enough to doom it with status-conscious teens and tweens these days.

Apple can get away with being different in anything; unfortunately, Microsoft still can't.

$70/mo smartphone plan on verizon doesn't buy the kiddoes very many text msgs. With a normal phone plan at $70/mo that's like unlimited talk and txts which I would think would be more appealing to the target market. This thing is complete fail unless verizon can offer something along the lines of a normal phone plan and not a smartphone plan.

Shadrack said,
$70/mo smartphone plan on verizon doesn't buy the kiddoes very many text msgs. With a normal phone plan at $70/mo that's like unlimited talk and txts which I would think would be more appealing to the target market. This thing is complete fail unless verizon can offer something along the lines of a normal phone plan and not a smartphone plan.

Baloney. If that were the case, smartphones would not sell to teens/tweens at all.

Yet Android-based smartphones (which include every VZW Android phone) sell, and sell large. (How many Android-based phones are involved in VZW's latest discounts?) The other discounted smartphones (other than the KIN phones) are *Blackberries* (the soon-to-be-EOL Tour, Curve, and Storm2 are all getting lowered in price; in the case of the S2, it's the second time it's been lowered in price by Big Red), and the S2 discount was actually expected. (S2 is going head-up with the Droid ERIS.) That means the fail-point isn't the plan cost; it's more what the phone isn't. (Didn't you in fact mention *phone as fashion statement* as to why you thought it would fail?)

potat4o said,
Gee, didn't see that coming.

No kidding. The KIN had fail written all over it from the get go. If they gave them away for free, people would still not want them. iPhone and Android devices absolutely destroy these.

Bullhead said,

No kidding. The KIN had fail written all over it from the get go. If they gave them away for free, people would still not want them. iPhone and Android devices absolutely destroy these.


+1

Bullhead said,

No kidding. The KIN had fail written all over it from the get go. If they gave them away for free, people would still not want them. iPhone and Android devices absolutely destroy these.

And therefore you just wrecked your argument. Android devices (same provider) cost more on a per-handset basis (and the plan costs are identical). So why are teens and tweens (and more telling, the parents) willing to buy Android-based smartphones instead of the less-expensive KIN handset, given that they save nothing on the plans?

Dropping the price of the Kin isn't going to get people to buy it ... It's the
cost from the provider ... Verizon is charging way too much for this phone.
Parents these days are watching what they spend ... You need to offer a
unlimited play for the Kin .. thats around $60 or less ... Even then they
might not get their kid one ...

GenBlood said,
Dropping the price of the Kin isn't going to get people to buy it ... It's the
cost from the provider ... Verizon is charging way too much for this phone.
Parents these days are watching what they spend ... You need to offer a
unlimited play for the Kin .. thats around $60 or less ... Even then they
might not get their kid one ...

Would be nice if Verizon made the plans cheaper!

bdsams said,
Droid X.....!

Droid X (even Droid ERIS) costs *more*, even before discount, than either KIN. Worse, you save nit on the plans. So it isn't the plan cost, or the handset cost, either.

A big part of the flop is verizon charging what they do for its access..... its almost $80 a month for an OK plan with that thing.... I mean come on..... give me what that phone has for $45 a month

neufuse said,
A big part of the flop is verizon charging what they do for its access..... its almost $80 a month for an OK plan with that thing.... I mean come on..... give me what that phone has for $45 a month

Bullcrap.

Look at Droid ERIS (or even the Original DROID); care to wager how well those sell to teens and tweens? Same provider, and same cost for the required plans; yet both outsell either KIN. Back when they launched, even when the feature list was disclosed, the phones were largely dismissed (here on Neowin, no less) because they looked too unlike the *cool smartphone to have* (specifically, the iPhone or DROID). I wondered if teens and tweens were that shallow; guess the KIN sales numbers showed *me* (yes; they can, and are, very much that shallow). I'm perfectly willing to own up that I was wrong, and so is Microsoft (with deep discounts). If it were the cost of the required data plans, smartphones wouldn't sell *at all* to teens/tweens (that sure isn't the case, given the sales numbers for Android-based smartphones via VZW alone). Also, Blackberries (same plan requirements) are still selling to teens/tweens (they are priced roughly identical to the KIN phones). So it certainly is *not* data plan cost.

So with plan costs and price as non-factors (and given that they have some features that both Android-based smartphones and Blackberries lack) that means that the reason is different. It's all about the *coolness factor* and *keeping up with the Joneses*...and the Jones kids own iPhones and Android-based phones - not a KIN.

Shallowness Strikes Again.

I'm glad they've proven that people aren't idiots when you consider that the cost of a data plan FAR outweighs the cost of the device in the long run. You'd rather get the Droid Incredible on Verizon which is a REAL phone worth the $29.99 data plan than this piece of crap that's worse than a "featurephone" since it costs so F$*(ing much.

Oh, please. It's never been the cost of the Kin phones themselves, or even the cost of the data plans. It's that they aren't fashionable. Yes; the cost of the data plans make them all the more resistable (to parents that have to pay for them), but that part holds true for *any* smartphone. The KIN phones look way too different (in short, they don't look like an iClone or DROID) which is dooming them in the eyes of the "me-too" teens and tweens.

I saw a commercial for it on TV last night.... I think they'll have to work on the concept a bit more

Totally. Microsoft has completely misread the market yet again and the launch of Windows Phone 7 looks to do the exact same thing, with its boxy interface and gimmicky "text-going-off-the-screen" nonsense. They're trying too hard to be "cool" and it shows.

Baked said,
Looks nice...shame like most MS products its not available outside the usa

it'll be available in Europe this fall

Sounds like a better deal now, finally affordable by 10-11-yr-olds, which is the only audience I can think of that would want those phones.

I sure hope Microsoft gets with some serious designers for the launch of WP7. They just can't afford any screw ups like this.