Verizon misses the point of the Kin, prices it out of its market

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Well, there goes that. The Microsoft Kins seemed like a good system. Online reviews are somewhat alright, at least most say the Kin shows potential. But it doesn’t matter. Kin One and Kin Two are likely going to be the only ones of their kind and will only be around for a short while. Verizon killed the platform when it decided that these feature phones need an expensive smartphone data plans.

The Kin platform is a novel system. It brings the social media functions of a smartphone into a more consumer-friendly device. It doesn’t have apps or any of that nonsense. Just a ton of built-in features like Facebook, Twitter, RSS feeds, and others. It’s a clever attempt to bridge the gap between full-fledged smartphones and dumb phones.

Verizon, however, decided they are smartphones and as a consequence require the same $30 data package as the Droid or a BlackBerry. That’s not going to fly. These phones are designed for the masses, not nerds or business-types used to paying the data premium. Carriers have been somewhat successful pushing $10 data plans for the current feature phones. Verizon wouldn’t be able to keep the Kin phones in stock if all they required were a $10 feature phone package.

The upfront cost doesn’t matter. The totally-capable Palm Pre or Pixi cost less than the Kins and require the same data package. Verizon salesmen will likely be pushing interested Kin consumers to either of those options now.

It’s the cost of the data plan that tips the scale. It’s due to simple greed on Verizon’s part that the Kin will die an early death. The Kin had great potential for offering teenage girls, Facebook-addicted moms, and technology-challenged folk a smarter cell phone. But instead most will opt for a phone that doesn’t require an expensive monthly data plan. Oh well.

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