The marketing of Microsoft’s new KIN may miss the mark in about a dozen ways, but at least it got the tech press talking about something other than the iP… PHEW! That was close.
Because even though it was born just today, we’re not sure how long it has to live. It’s rare that I’m utterly dumbfounded by the release of a tech product. But if you’re as perplexed as I am regarding what to think about Microsoft’s Kin, perhaps we can learn something together as I try to dispel my ignorance. There has been a quiet buzz about the product’s release for some time now (as codename “pink”), but today was the official rollout. Such as it was. According to available press materials, the Kin is targeted at “social networking-savvy teens and twenty-somethings”, but if you were aiming at this market, wouldn’t you want to roll your product out by having somebody like Miley Cyrus or the Jonas Brothers pitch it, as opposed to a guy with a pot belly in a form-fitting shirt who – if you are a twentysomething – probably looks like your dad? The video below from Microsoft’s own press site blows it six ways to Sunday. It’s embeddable, but uses Silverlight; it’s presented by two fortyish guys who keep talking about their proposed market as “they”, sounding most of the time like their proposed market is a demographic they made up based on their ignorance and then created by looking for certain results; and it’s…well, BORING. I don’t think the device and related concepts are so far off the mark; I’d LOVE a phone that eases my transitions from social networking to web and e-mail to phone. And I mean one that isn’t the iPhone. But the promise of this sort of thing is inevitably so interwoven with the service that makes it work that I can’t imagine the Kin’s partnership with Verizon delivering all of this at a useful price. If you find the actual Kin site as annoyingly “hip two years ago” and cryptic as I did, Engadget has an expansive and thorough roundup of the product that puts all the pieces together. Which I think bodes poorly for the Kin, you really should be able to explain a product in a sentence or two if you’re marketing it to attention-impaired millenials.
I’ll bet you a nickel this embedded video won’t play in your browser, so here’s a link …
…and a screen grab of what you’re missing:
And a video from Engadget that introduces the interface. And will probably actually play for you.
Here’s the hilarious result of trying to use Firefox to access Microsoft’s idea of “sharing”: