Is Microsoft's Kin Really The "Son Of Sidekick?

Author: Leslie Grandy
Published: April 13, 2010 at 5:59 pm
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The launch of Microsoft’s Kin carried with it many assumptions and expectations. KinFirst there was the Microsoft purchase of Danger, the operating system that powers the Sidekick. Since the Sidekick target customer was considered “young and social”, many reviewers and bloggers I spoke with came to today’s launch event expecting to see a “Son of Sidekick.”

The Windows Phone 7 launch, and the deep dive for developers at Mix10, lead some people to believe that Microsoft might not launch its own branded phone first, and many speculated that today's announcements might be about a Microsoft tablet.

Xbox, clearly a component of the Windows Phone 7 plan, has yet to be leveraged into a mobile strategy. And finally, the Microsoft launch of Kin comes a full two years after the last major Windows Mobile OS release, during which time Apple and Google have captured consumers’ hearts and minds with apps and more apps, establishing app stores as the primary battleground for smartphone operating systems.

So, like many folks who attended today’s event in San Francisco, I approached the launch with my pre-conceived ideas of what Kin would mean to the market and to Microsoft.

I had seen the leaked hardware, which is made by the same manufacturer, Sharp, that built the Sidekick. And I had seen early concepts of Pink long before Windows Mobile changed its name to Windows Phone 7. But to burden Kin with all of those expectations is to do the device an injustice. Kin deserves a fair shake at finding its own audience, and the time to develop its rightful place in Verizon’s device portfolio.

Sure, many people buy based on the specs of the phone, like megapixels and memory, that the industry calls “feeds and speeds.” And Kin doesn’t have the most and biggest of very much. But having the most of everything may not be what the audience for this phone really needs, because feeds and speeds add to the bottom line cost of the handset, and for Kin’s 18-24 year old target, budget may be a real constraint.

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Article Author: Leslie Grandy

Leslie Grandy is the VP of Product & Design at Gerson Lehrman Group. Grandy, who was named one of the 15 most influential women in social media by Technorati in the 2010 State of the Blogosphere report, served recently as Chief Marketing Officer for R2integrated. …

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