Amazon's announcement of its Cloud Drive music-storage service for got me thinking again about the kinds of cloud add-ons that Microsoft may be prepping for Windows Phone 7.
Last we heard, even though Microsoft had kinned the Kin -- its phone for the teen/20-something hipster set -- the Kin Studio concepts were still not completely dead. A post on March 29 from @w7ap, mentioning some vaguely worded Microsoft job posts for "Mobile Studio," got me thinking even more.
Microsoft's Mobile Communications Business is seeking folks for the Mobile Studio team -- "a multidisciplinary team whose charter is to design world-class end-to-end experiences that are desirable, thoughtful, consistent, and easy-to-use to the Windows Phone platform. ("Our goal is to ensure full integration of brand, industrial design, user interface, graphic design, usability, and business strategy," according to the job postings.)
The Kin Studio synchronized content like photos, videos, status updates and messages and made it accessible in a timeline in a browser. As Engadget described it last year:
"Perhaps the biggest surprise or outside-the-box feature is Kin Studio. Basically, it lets you do everything you can do on your phone, like share your photos, update your status, etc. (even using a Kin Spot UI to do it), but it also acts as cloud storage for all your media -- including a scrubbable timeline for checking out your own archives. You can also do contact management from here, another nice perk."
What if Mobile Studio is Kin Studio reincarnated and de-hipsterized? And maybe Zune-ified? (For some reason, Microsoft doesn't offer anything like Amazon's Cloud Drive for music, even though it offers the Zune music/movie service and ZunePass subscription service.)
It wasn't all that long ago -- back in 2009 -- that Microsoft was making plans for all kinds of cloud add-ons for its Windows Mobile platform.
Skybox was supposed to be "a hub for user data and information — a place for storing and accessing photos, contact lists, calendar items and more on Microsoft datacenter servers." As I blogged at the time, "If you lose or switch your phone, all your data and contacts are saved in your Skybox. Skybox is based on the Mobicomp synchronization technologies that the Redmondians acquired when they purchased the Portuguese services company Mobicomp in the summer of 2008."
Microsoft was well along the way of fielding not just a free version, but a paid version, too, of Skybox before the company abruptly skidded to a halt with its Windows Mobile 7 plans, resetting them to Windows Phone 7. The Redmondians seemingly scrapped Skybox and instead introduced its MyPhone add-ons, alongside Windows Live SkyDrive, as partial replacements. (MyPhone is advertised as being Windows Mobile 6.x+ compatible, with a few of that family of services available as integrated parts of the Windows Phone 7 OS.)
Speaking of Windows Live, I'm wondering whether Microsoft is still planning to add Windows Phone support to its Live Mesh sync service, or if Microsoft plans to continue to restrict Live Mesh so that it doesn't work with mobile phones. (Speaking of Live Mesh, the Live Mesh beta expires Thursday, March 31. If you haven't moved to the final Live Mesh version, which removed phone support, you'll lose all your Live Mesh data after today.)
Perhaps we might hear a bit more about whatever Mobile Studio is at the upcoming Mix '11 show. After all, I'd think Microsoft would want to get third-party app and service developers and designers thinking about how they might fit into the picture....