In the beginning, back in 2007, there was Amazon’s Kindle. A mildly controversial name—burning books? really?—but not on account of its first syllable.
Turns out, though, that more kindred were on the horizon.
In May of this year, Microsoft introduced its new mobile phone, the Kin. (Or as the official communications put it, the KIN.*)
And just this week, also from Microsoft, comes Kinect, an Xbox 360 peripheral which Gizmodo calls “a webcam on steroids that plugs into the console's USB port that looks like it belongs with a PS3.” The name (Gizmodo again) is meant to suggest “connect” and “kinetic.” It’s “horribly confusing,” writes Gizmodo’s Mark Wilson, “to those of us who played Nike’s Kinetic.”
Can you say “kinsiderable kinsumer kinfusion”?
Words and names starting with K have a certain allure, going back to Kodak and Special K and continuing through 21st-century baby-naming trends. (See my 2007 post, “If Any Letter Defines Modern American Name Style, ‘K’ Is It.”) And kin has its own inherent power: It’s a very old word (cyn in Old English) that originally meant family, race, kind, or nature. It’s unrelated except orthographically to kinetic, which comes from Greek kinein, “to move.”
But Microsoft’s Kin isn’t connected (sorry) to Kinect, and neither Microsoft product has any kinship (sorry again) with the Kindle.
A more paranoid observer than I might suspect a kinspiracy. As my grandmothers would have said, kinehora.
UPDATE, July 1: The Microsoft Kin is dead.
* What exactly is up with all these faux acronyms? (Mockronyms?) Yesterday I told you about the CODA. Today it’s the KIN. Will everyone PLEASE STOP SHOUTING?