Exclusive: Who Schooled Microsoft In The Making Of KIN

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Microsoft is making bold strides to change their image and listen to customer’s needs and wants. And you can tell by their marketing and advertising campaigns from the last couple of years. (I loved the Seinfeld and Gates spots, BTW.) The concept is nothing new, of course. But I have to believe that for a project like KIN, they had to do something differently. It’s for a specific demographic and from what little time I’ve had with the device, I can tell that they actually listened.

(More on Techland: Microsoft’s Project Pink Unveiled As Kin, Coming To Verizon This May)

We have an exclusive look at a small sample of the folks who make up Project Muse. The mobile think tank was started in February of 2009 with the hope that active community involvement would make KIN (aka Project Pink) a surefire homerun. “We built the Muse Community to play an integral part of the product development from start to finish, says Stephanie Camp, Senior Social Marketing Manager for KIN. Everyone in Project Muse is a volunteer…They loved the fact that a company listened to them and built something with their ideas in mind. They feel like a part of the team and project.”

And that clearly stands out when you take a look at the hardware and features of the KIN One and KIN Two. Project Muse participants were asked to test various keyboard configurations, which were narrowed down to three keyboards with the winning layout coming via photo submission. Texting is an integral part of how we communicate with one another these days. And let’s not forget about the camera. I can’t even tell you how many phones I’ve had in the last three to four years with horrendous cameras. The KIN devices come with 5- and 8-megapixel cameras with LED flash and anti-shake technology.

The most compelling part of KIN is the fact that it’s the first cloud-based mobile phone. Everything you do on your KIN is synced to the cloud and accessible via The Studio, an online portal for KIN users. You can find all the photos, videos, text messages, RSS feeds and just about anything else you have on your KIN online. The software on your KIN is smart enough to know when you’re getting low on memory, so it stores things like photos and videos in the cloud freeing up local memory on your phone for more content. When you log into The Studio, you can view everything in a convenient timeline. You can also add content, like, photos, music and RSS feeds to the Studio and it’ll show up on your KIN within seconds.

Stick around as we’ll have more on the KIN later today.