Kin Phones Lack Application Support

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-04-13 Print this article Print

5. No app store

As mentioned above, the Kin phones will not support an app store. That means that third-party developers won't be able to bring apps to the device and owners will only be able to use the applications that come bundled on the Kin out of the box. Microsoft should know better. The company has spent years explaining why Windows Mobile devices lack in app support, and now it's delivering a product that lacks third-party apps? It doesn't make sense. Mobile applications have quickly become a necessity in the mobile marketplace. Apple, Google and RIM all offer apps. Even Microsoft plans to offer an App Store with its Windows Phone 7 software. Why it wouldn't have third-party app support with Kin is anyone's guess.

6. Communication without IM

Part of being a social device is allowing users to communicate with each other. That means Kin owners will be able to correspond with MySpace, Facebook and Twitter friends from the devices. But in an odd move, Microsoft has decided that instant messaging doesn't fit in its plans; therefore the company said that Kin devices will not support instant messaging. Since there's no app store, third-party developers can't bring clients to the device. If communication is what Kin phones are all about, instant messaging should have made its way to those devices.

7. Where's the innovation?

Take a look at either Kin device and attempt to find something that shows innovation. The devices are rather boring compared with many of the mobile products on the market. The iPhone and Google Nexus One offer something innovative that other products on the market have yet to muster. Because of that, any device that comes after them are expected to also do something innovative to make a mark. It might not be fair to those vendors, but it is an expectation that consumers have. The Kin phones do nothing of the sort. And it could hurt them when they hit store shelves next month.

8. No data tethering

This might not come as a surprise, but Kin phones lack support for data tethering. That immediately pushes the enterprise out of the equation and could conceivably annoy some consumer road warriors who like having the option of connecting to the Web through their mobile phones. That said, a lack of data tethering support isn't a deal breaker. Currently, the iPhone, like several other phones on the market, doesn't support tethering. But if Microsoft had struck a deal with Verizon to bring tethering to the product, it might have helped it appeal to more customers who are looking for something new and fresh.

9. Social, but no calendar?

Microsoft has gone out of its way to say that its Kin phones are designed for younger social network users. But a key component in social networking is planning events that friends can attend with each other. Wouldn't it have been nice to plan a get-together with Facebook friends and add that event to a calendar built into the Kin software? Yep. But it won' t happen. The Kin doesn't have a built-in calendar app, which means users will need to do scheduling somewhere else. It's awfully counter-intuitive for a social networking phone to not have a calendar app.

10. A cool factor

Microsoft is attempting to market the Kin devices to cool, hipster twenty-somethings who spend time at clubs and communicate with their friends on social networks. That makes sense. But it seemed to forget one element: To those people, a phone is an extension of who they are. They want to look "cool" thumbing away on a Kin and sending messages to friends. The Kin doesn't strike me as a cool device. It's functional and its design is nice, but the cool factor is nonexistent. The iPhone is a cool device. The Kin One and Kin Two just don't seem to cut it.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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