Microsoft News: Verizon slashes prices for Microsoft Kin phones

Rumors began surfacing over the weekend that price cuts for the Kin phones were in the offing, and now it's official. Originally listed for $49 with a two-year contract, the smaller Kin One is now on sale at Verizon for just $29 with service, or a little more than 40 percent off. The Kin Two is selling for $49, or half off its original $99 two-year contract price. Verizon is also offering "buy one, get one free" deals for both of the Kin handsets. They hit the market in early May.

Microsoft threw the touchscreen Kin One and Kin Two a splashy coming-out party earlier this year, hoping to snare young, so-called social phone users with the two QWERTY sliders. Running on a pared-down version of the upcoming Windows Phone 7 OS, the diminutive phones feature full-on Zune players for music and video, as well as something called the Kin Loop: a continuously updated feed of Facebook, Twitter and MySpace updates. There's also a Kin "Spot" at the bottom of the screen where you can drag photos, Web pages and other content that you want to share with your pals, as well as Kin "Studio," a private Web page that chronicles all your Kin activity over the past days, weeks and months.

Overall, I have to give Microsoft credit for what they've tried to do with the Kin One and Two—I like the concept behind the Kin Loop and (especially) the online Kin Studio quite a bit, and I appreciate the fact that Redmond's done something a little different with the Kin's unusual user interface. But after a few hours with the somewhat sluggish, feature-challenged Kin One (I mean, c'mon - no mapping app?), I'm having a hard time imagining how I could recommend it to anyone when there are better and cheaper options available on Verizon already

Word has it that sales of the two Kins have been painfully slow (I'm not surprised, frankly), and Monday's abrupt price drops only add fuel to the fire. Is now a good time to scoop up a Kin? Well, if you are indeed interested, I'd actually advise waiting a little longer. Something tells me that one or both of these guys will be selling for the low price of free (with two-year contracts, of course) before long.

Verizon Wireless has gone ahead and cut the price by as much as half - never a good sign as far as sales are concerned.

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