Microsoft has today launched the Microsoft Kin, two new phones targeted at Generation Y consumers that offer a heavy focus on social networking.
The Kin phones are the first phones from Microsoft based on the roots of its acquisition of Danger, and hence are rightly being considered the new Sidekicks.
Although being marketed as Windows Phones, the Kin One and Two are that in name only. Both offer a completely unique interface with a focus on services including Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. A drag and drop UI allows for easy sharing and friend collaboration, and at first glance it looks impressive enough. (see some demo videos as follow.)
Microsoft may have done its research in its desired target market, but the logic of offering what is a locked phone in the age of smart phones and applications is either insane or inspired thinking. The Kin does not allow third-party apps to be built on them, immediately limiting the phones appeal. As such it is also locked out of the Windows phone app marketplace as well…the logic of which escapes me in the current market for phones.
I’m not the targeted audience, so maybe I don’t get it. I suspect though that Microsoft may be underestimating the intelligence of its desired audience, an audience that is increasingly being exposed to smart phones with apps, and likes that. There’s probably a market there today, but it’s a fools target over the medium to long term in that the market for cut down limited phones, particularly in a younger market demographic, doesn’t have many years left in it.
The demo videos as follow: