Updated: Microsoft’s supposed comeback to the mobile market with the Kin twins — two phones for the teenage set — has run into trouble. Apparently, the phones are not selling and the company today announced price cuts. Kin One is now being sold for $30 (down from $50) after a $100 discount. Kin Two with a bigger screen is now being sold for $50 down from $100 (after the $100 discount on a two-year contract.) These cuts went into effect six weeks after the Kin devices went on sale — indicating that there are not many buyers. These cuts come despite some heavy promotion by Microsoft on VH1 and MTV.
Frankly, I am not surprised. First of all, the phones — despite their interesting looks — lack a certain hipness that comes with some of today’s new phones. In my first hands-on experience of the devices, I felt they were “trying to do too many things at once. And in the process, it’s defying what has become standard user behavior among young people: trying and buying applications.” In the end they lacked a certain coherence. The market seems to agree with that prognosis. Of course, what hasn’t helped is that the phones are saddled with smartphone-like data plans even though the phones are being targeted at budget-sensitive teens.
Update: It appears that the reduced pricing could be part of a fire sale as Gizmodo reports that Microsoft is close to killing off the already dying Kin. Microsoft confirms a change in strategy and offered this statement to Gizmodo:
We have made the decision to focus exclusively on Windows Phone 7 and we will not ship KIN in Europe this fall as planned. Additionally, we are integrating our KIN team with the Windows Phone 7 team, incorporating valuable ideas and technologies from KIN into future Windows Phone releases. We will continue to work with Verizon in the U.S. to sell current KIN phones.