Home What's Brewing? Microsoft’s Next of Kin

Microsoft’s Next of Kin

Microsoft debuted a new breed of Social phone this week — dubbed Kin1 and Kin 2 — the result of a partnership with Verizon Wireless,Vodafone and Sharp.

Meant for social-network enthusiasts, the next-generation “networking” phone from the inventors of the popular Sidekick “Danger” phone, the Kin line sports an interface that brings together feeds from Microsoft, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter into one location. Users will be able to choose their “favorite” people and the phone will prioritize their status updates, messages, feeds and photos.

“The Spot” is a part of the interface that allows users to drag videos, photos, texts, Web pages and status updates and then decide how to share them. Content is stored in the cloud for easier sharing, Microsoft said, and a “digital journal” of photos, videos, contacts, and call and text histories is automatically backed up at the Kin Studio.

The Kins will be exclusively available from Verizon Wireless in the U.S. beginning in May, both Kins come with touchscreens and slide-out keyboards, Kin One is more compact and meant for one-handed use while Kin Two comes with more advanced features, including the ability to record high-definition video in 1,280 by 720 resolution. Both phones’ cameras (5 megapixels for Kin One and 8 megapixels for Kin Two) come with image stabilization and LumiLED flash. The Kin One has a 2.6-inch screen and the Two has a 3.4-inch screen. Further specs, including size and weight, were not being provided at this time, according to a Microsoft spokesperson.

Microsoft’s momentium in mobile will be key to its future growth and resonate throughout the region. A newly-released University of Washington study shows the software titan accounted for 13.6 percent of the gross Washington state product in 2008.

In 2008, Microsoft was (and it still is) the state’s second-largest private employer with 39,300 local employees, behind Boeing’s headcount of 76,400. The mighty M generated $7 billion in worker compensation – up to $1.6 billion more than the state’s entire aerospace industry, according to the study’s author, UW economics professor Theo Eicher.

The UW study – aptly titled “The Microsoft Economic Impact Study” – was commissioned by Microsoft but was based mostly on government data. In the four years since a similar study was published with 2004 figures, Microsoft’s local employment grew by 11,000.

While Microsoft’s Puget Sound workforce fell by about 5,800 during the company’s 2009 fiscal year, its local headcount is now about 39,600.

Microsoft was directly responsible for one out of every nine jobs created in King County from 2004 to 2008.

The average local Microsoft employee made $152,212 in 2008 – $178,159 if you include stock options. (The average aerospace worker made $87,113 in wages.) [24×7]Conan Returns to the Place He Got Hitched, with 30-City Wagon Train in Tow

The “Legally Probitied From Being Funny on Telelvision Tour” starrting Conan “Coco” O”Brien is winding its way back to the Emerald City of Seattle (the home of Conan’s spouse, Liza Powell, and the site of his 2002 wedding vows). The Northwest trek saddles up in Eugene, Ore. on April 12 and then visits Vancouver, Spokane, Enoch, and Alberta. The Seattle whistle stop is April 18-19 at McCaw Hall. “It was either a massive 30-city tour or start helping out around the house,” O’Brien quipped to media.

Sidekick Andy Richter and the former “Tonight Show” band will join O’Brien for what he calls “a night of music, comedy, hugging and the occasional awkward silence.” Some individual seats are stilla vsaialble at http://www.teamcoco.com/ [24×7]

MyStarbucksIdea.com Fuels April Brainstorm Shower

Starbucks announced last week the introduction of two new beverage sizes in stores in the U. S. and Canada this Fall. The announcement follows a year of research and direct customer feedback via MyStarbucksIdea.com requesting even more choice in beverage size.

“:Whether customers are looking for a large or small size, the Plenta and the Micra satisfy all U.S. and Canada customers’ needs for more and less coffee,” said Hugh Mungis, Starbucks VP of Volume. “Our size selection is now plentiful.”

Plenta™ (128 fl oz) and Micra™ (2 fl oz) cups arrive in Starbucks stores this Fall. Derived from Italian word for plentiful or small, the Plenta™ delivers coffee lovers record amounts of the world’s finest coffee beverages while the Micra™ delivers a quick and satisfying morsel of goodness.

Recognizing the potential impact the Plenta™ presents for municipal waste collection, Starbucks is also suggesting several subsequent uses for the Plenta™ cup post coffee enjoyment. Suggested usage options include popcorn receptacle, rain hat, perennial planter, lampshade or yoga block. The Micra also serves as a convenient milk dish for kittens, soft boiled egg cup or paper clip holder. Oh, and April Fools! [24×7]

Get more info in the Seattle24x7 blog