Kin network pricing is youth extortion: $85 a month

Kin network pricing is youth extortion: $85 a month

Summary: The KIN One and Two, Microsoft's new youth-aimed smartphones, are the best smartphones you'll never buy. Why? Because it'll cost you $85 a month for two painful years.

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TOPICS: Networking
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The Microsoft KIN devices are aimed at students and the younger user in particular, to take control of their online lives and stand out from the crowd as part of the cool-kid collective.

As I strongly suspected, the pricing issue and the potential for an inability for networks to play ball has indeed arisen, meaning while the device itself may be relatively cheap, the network costs for the full package will be extortionate.

In short:

  • The KIN One will be priced at $49.99 and will be available on 6th May 2010 on the Verizon network.
  • The KIN Two will be priced at $99.99 and will be available on the same day on the same network.
  • Both devices will cost as such after a $100 mail-in rebate with a two year network contract.

All good and well on the device front. I'd say that's relatively cheap off the mark, and $99 after a $100 mail-in rebate isn't too bad. But here's where it gets tricky.

  • Verizon is the only network that supports the KIN devices, so you're already stuck if you're not a customer.
  • If you're to use Twitter, Facebook and other social networking tools - which the device is designed and marketed for - you'll need a smartphone plan. This costs $29.99 a month according to Engadget.
  • Seeing as it's a phone, you'll also need a voice plan. This wil cost you $39.99 a month.
  • For a Zune Pass, you'll need to cough up another $14.99 a month, says LiveSide.

All in all, if you were to go with just voice and data - which frankly is the very least you will need for these phones - that's going to cost you over a two-year contract:

  • KIN One + voice only: $1,010
  • KIN One + voice and data: $1,727
  • KIN One + voice, data and Zune Pass: $2,086
  • KIN Two + voice only: $1,060
  • KIN Two + voice and data: $1,777
  • KIN Two + voice, data and Zune Pass: $2,136

In short, it's roughly $85 per month for two years. Gizmodo has some figures; though mine and theirs don't completely add up (there's a chance they don't have dyscalculia, which really doesn't help).

Figures are rounded up to the nearest dollar and is a rough estimate of how much the total device plus plans will cost over the two year service agreement with Verizon. Of course, this may fluctuate based on how much usage you actually consume.

So, it's not the hardware or the software, the social networking aspect, or the lack of downloadable and installable applications that is the issue with these devices. It always has been, and always will be the price - even before it was announced today.

*thud* *thud*

That is the sound of Microsoft and its KIN partners shooting themselves in both feet. I agree with Gizmodo, frankly. It's the best smartphone that you'll never, ever buy.

Will you buy one for yourself or your teenage kid?

Topic: Networking

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9 comments
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  • Kins suck massive amounts of data - they should pay

    Every time a Kin takes a photo, the unit automatically uploads it to Microsoft's cloud service, whether the user wants to or not. Everything goes to the cloud. With hundreds of 8 megapix photos, that's an avalanche of data. Why shouldn't Kin users pay?
    Vbitrate
  • What a waste

    Still not sure why everyone wants to whine over the cost of the data plan.

    Oh, that is right, iPhone's data plan is free!!! Not...

    That sound is me rolling my eyes over such a worthless article I read.
    theog
  • How ignorant to use "extorsion" in this blob. Apple's equiv. plan is 129.

    Add up how much a young person pays for an iphone, the apps they buy, the crappiest service in the world, AT&T (take a look at how much that is per month), the pay as you go money they spend at itunes etc etc.

    This is actually cheap for a far more functional phone for young people. Just what they want and the way they use technology. No 129.99 a month to AT&T plus apps, itunes etc etc.
    MS did their homework on this one. Dead on.

    What BS to even post this garbage. And the Zune pass is a great deal. You get to keep as much music as 15.00 would buy you on itunes PLUS listen to any music you want, any time in addition.

    And, you don't have to buy a Zune pass, that is totally optional and you can load your existing music on it instead or buy as you go, which has never gone away, sort of like with itunes....you've heard of it?
    xuniL_z
  • One sided article

    To be fair, the article should compare the prices and plans for similar devices, not just pick on one and say it's too expensive.

    Having said that, compared to the price and features of my current smart phone contract, this does look very expensive though.
    Fred Fredrickson
  • RE: Kin network pricing is youth extorsion: $85 a month

    "Extortion" really? anyways even though i disagree with your article , One other thing to keep in mind is the zune pass is good for 3 devices....
    patchman
  • RE: Kin network pricing is youth extorsion: $85 a month

    This is more of Verizon shooting itself in the foot than Microsoft or its partners. The $29.99 plan is crazy for a feature phone like this. And because its a feature phone that's most likely why you don't see a lot of apps for it - probably a restriction from Verizon. I have a Verizon feature phone and yes there are apps for it but no one buys them because Verizon charges $2.99 a month subscription for them.
    Loverock Davidson
  • RE: RE: Dont forget text

    I noticed your plan scenarios don't include text messaging. Isn't this phone basically the new Sidekick? Isn't one of it's primary purposes for the Kin's existence to text? Add that -- and Zune Pass in -- and you've got a $100 plan on a dumbphone
    BiffTannen1955
    • RE: Kin network pricing is youth extorsion: $85 a month

      @BiffTannen1955 Good point. I would have thought that text messages would have come as part of the smartphone - the voice - plan, as texts are very, very rarely sent over the data network, which is a different package.
      zwhittaker
    • RE: dumbphone? Because it's from Microsoft maybe?

      For the same data/voice plan with iphone you are looking at 120.00 a month, just for the plan. That doesn't include apps, itunes purchases, etc etc. <br>This is a deal. MS hit the nail on the head. <br>Especially since these phones are best of breed. <br>
      The zune pass gives you more songs to keep then you'd get spending the 15.00 at itunes, and on top of all of those keepers, you get to listent to any music you want, as much as you want wherever and whenever you want w/o another dime. It's the best deal by far.
      But many people don't seem to understand that nobody is forcing you to buy the zune pass. Just like you are not obligated to buy 20 songs on itunes per month or have a minimum app purchase quota you must reach to keep your plan active. I mean WTH? You can still buy tunes from zune one at at time, just like itunes.
      ARE you people brain dead or just seriously ABM stock who feel they have to make stuff up to put a stain on anything MS does. <br>Then later this year the WP7 will be along to clean up the rest of the market. <br> <br><img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/wink.gif" alt="wink">
      xuniL_z