Microsoft's KIN - Catching Up With the Mobile Social Networking Competition

I had the opportunity to go to the KIN launch today. My colleague Charles Golvin has a full take here.

I loved the social networking features on the phone (and the graphical interface with the "spot" though I'd need a change-up on noises). This isn't the first phone we've seen where  the experience is centered on my friends and my contacts, but they keep getting better. We argued (see report) long ago as many did that the cell phone should be the hub of one's social graph and not simply an application on the handset. The KIN comes close and does many things well including:

- Offers status updates inside of my contact profiles which are "live" on my homescreen
- Allows the user to post photos directly from the phone
- Tags photos with location
- Allows me to choose one of many communication channels within profile (many options, but not my full list)
- Builds an online journal of my photos, videos, messages and contacts (looks to me a lot like the concept Nokia tried with their life blog application a while back)

What it is missing, but I suspect is in development:

- Tags (meta data) that allow me to build a richer social graph by tagging my photos with contacts, groups, trips, etc.
- Ability to help me find my friends
- Location tags integrated into maps that connect me to my friends' favorite restaurants, bookstores, etc. - or more generally their content - could also be photos, videos and posts

 

How Customer Input Shaped Office 2010 -- Lessons For Consumer Product Strategists

My first report addressing Product Creation is now Web-live.  It's a case study about how Microsoft's Office team used customer inputs to shape the development of Office 2010.  Here's why Microsoft's approach is interesting to fellow product strategy professionals:

Read more

Microsoft's Response to Apple iPad

The iPad is not a PC and Microsoft will not respond to it with Windows 7-based tablets (tablets that use the full PC version of Windows have different strengths and focus). Microsoft is too smart a firm to try an oranges to apples fight. iPad is built on a smartphone OS -- iPhone OS -- and not a full fat PC computing operating system. Microsoft will respond in kind.

Microsoft's real response to iPad will use a mobile-focused design. Look to the new "Metro" user interface design style for Windows Phone 7 series as a guide to Microsoft's direction. These early design mock-ups show the spacious, magazine-style typography and visual layout that carried through into the finished look that Steve Ballmer announced at MWC. Am I the only person that thinks this style would be ideal for a slightly larger device than a smartphone, like a touch screen tablet?

Microsoft has already emulated a number of parts of Apple's iPhone strategy: the new Windows Phone 7 OS limits multitasking; has no copy and paste initially; actively courts app developers; and has a centralised single distribution market for apps. Microsoft has the capability with the Windows Phone 7 series design to emulate iPad too. We can only guess Microsoft's intent, but with Windows Phone 7 series Microsoft is putting all the right capabilities in place to take its smartphone OS into other smart mobile devices, and not just further Zunes, but tablets too.

Read more