When the Microsoft Kin phone went on sale a couple of weeks ago it, was widely panned by tech bloggers and pretty much the whole media establishment. The critics were hell bent on comparing it to smart phones but its not. There is no argument that the pricing needs to be fixed ASAP to give the phone a chance. Other glaring missing features like a calendar, IM applications, full Zune feature set (Wifi Sync, Social, Picks, Smart DJ) Zune pass price, Facebook (chat, in-box, profiles) Twitter (photo upload, re-tweet, inline reply) advanced camera settings photo edit options among other things should be addressed as soon as possible with a firmware update. Instead of complaining or gloating over the demise of Microsoft, I will try to be the unofficial consultant and provide solutions on how the problems can be remedied. I will tackle this in 7 parts.
Part 1: Pricing
During the Kin unveiling in April, most people were intrigued by the UI and the heavy social network focus but rightly surmised that the monthly plan was going to make or break the phone. Come May and the worst fears were realized, instead of a simple pricing plan that covered voice text data and Zune pass, a new user has to pay $39 for voice, $29.99 for data, more for a text plan and $14.99 for Zune pass. This is madness! Microsoft tried to justify this by claiming that the Kin studio and automatic backup are the reason. Fair enough but if Sprint can have an unlimited boost mobile plan for $50 Microsoft should negotiate comparable deal. Don’t let Verizon determine your destiny!
The Kin pricing should ideally be $49.99. This will cover unlimited data, text and 700 anytime minutes. Secondly, new users will get a 6 month free Zune pass. Introduce a new pricing tier of $6.99 for unlimited music without the free 10 monthly downloads. This basically negates the need for Pandora, Spotify or any of the other streaming music services. The $14.99 pricing will remain for those who appreciate the value of the free 10 monthly downloads. If the phone is part of a family plan, the cost will be $5 for an additional line (to compete with T-mobile) and $29.99 for data. The minutes are text are shared.
To sum it up, the total standalone pricing for the Kin with a Zune Pass would be $56.98 or an additional $36.98 as part of a family plan. Rather than wasting money IMHO on the Bing cash back program( I love and use Bing by the way) use it here to give the Kin a chance!
Update: Seems like the Zune pass pricing issue may be fixed soon.