The battle for the future of digital wallets is still in its infancy and there are still no clear winners in the United States. What is clear, however, is that NFC-based solutions haven’t seen the widespread adoption some industry watchers had expected. The lack of a universal solution and the cost of upgrading merchant terminals are both huge barriers, and they may never really be overcome. As such, several companies are looking for ways around these limitations by coming up with solutions that work with current equipment. One example we covered recently is Coin, which is building a one card to rule them all solution. Now, another contender called Loop has released a novel product it hopes will change the way we pay for goods and services. More →
We’ve only been using the Microsoft KIN Two for about half a day. Even though that isn’t enough time to put a comprehensive review together, we can still comment on our initial reactions about the device.
The Microsoft KIN One and KIN Two are aimed at a non-professional crowd, mostly the young Justin Bieber generation. For phones in this category, they definitely do pack a punch. For starters, there is Microsoft Exchange support (no calendar support), an 8 megapixel camera with 720p video capture, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and all the social networking integration you could want. Microsoft actually is not very spec-heavy when pushing this device as they realize the specifications are almost irrelevant to the target buyer — and that’s smart.
The real issue is that we cannot remember a phone in recent memory that has felt so cheap and so clunky to use. Seriously. For some reason — and I am really not exaggerating here — I do not remember ever being so frustrated with a phone. It is slow and far from intuitive. There are feature phones that I would rather carry around with me. The one saving grace we thought the KIN had was that the data plans would be more economical than the traditional $30/month unlimited data packages. Well, we were wrong. The KIN Two goes for $99.99 on a two year contract after $100 MIR, but you still need that $30 data plan on top of your texting plan, on top of your voice plan (or family plan). I’m sorry, but I don’t see the advantage of a device this limited in this day and age, not with $100 Android devices, $100 iPhones, and $100 BlackBerry handsets (that all use the same $30/month data package). The concept is fine, but the execution is more a mashup of glitter, key lime pie, and a crappy stained glass window artist all thrown together under Sharp’s assembly lines.
Yes, the added value stuff is cool — KIN Studio lets you see a historical archive of your entire phone, complete with text messages, photos and videos, and KIN Loop on the homepage is great in theory — but again, the execution here is the issue, and it reminds me of Motorola’s MOTOBLUR mess of a homescreen.
Going one step further, this device kind of spoiled my excitement for Windows Phone 7 — it is definitely not the same (though they do have the same base kernel), but it seems to be a little peak into that window, and from where I am standing, I don’t like the view. We have some photos ready to go in the gallery, plus the HTC Incredible makes a cameo for some size comparisons.
Not even a whole two months removed from their announcing Windows Phone 7 Series, Microsoft is back today with another event in which it is expected to reveal its Project Pink line-up including the handsets known as the “Pure” and “Turtle”. Whether or not they’ll run WP7 or something else entirely isn’t clear, but all of this will soon be clear. As the event carries on we’ll be updating this post with the latest information, so be sure to check often lest you be left out of the loop. All of the goodness is after the jump. More →