With all the talk of gift-buying, we forget that the holiday season is also a great time to take stock on tech for your business. Getting the right tech as an entrepreneur or small business is tough. Since you can’t take advantage of the bulk discounts that larger companies get, you have to be a little more creative when it comes to getting the right tech for your business. Thankfully, the holiday shopping season is a perfect time to score some great tech at a discount if you know how to find it.
UPDATE: The contest has ended and winners are being contacted. To see if you won, check the widgets after the jump!
The idea behind the new Office 365 is that there are two key needs for small businesses these days: mobile accessibility and streamlined IT. After all, time spent dealing with tech headaches is time you’re not actually working on your business. Office365 seeks to streamline your tech by providing all your productivity apps through one cloud-based service, and can include the Microsoft Office Suite so many of us have come to rely on.
Exchange email is probably not a new idea for you. The trouble is, running an exchange server for email is complicated and not cheap. Microsoft has figured out how to have exchange email live online, so you can sync and manage email, calendars and contacts across devices. There are even shared calendars, just like the real (now old-fashioned) deal.
One of the questions we get asked most often is about how to use Microsoft Word and Excel on tablets and smartphones. And while we love using iPads and other tablets to work whenever and wherever, but until now there hasn’t been a great native solution for those devices. Instead we’ve been using Android and iOS apps to try to recreate the laptop or desktop experience.
But starting today, Microsoft has partnered with AT&T to create a cloud-based Office Suite, so you can have Microsoft Office on all your devices. They’re calling it Office365, and the idea is that the cloud can provide everything you need to be productive on any device. Using the cloud actually enables lots of professional-level IT tools beyond just the Office Suite, which we’ll talk about later this week, but for now we’ll just concentrate on getting you up to speed on the Office Web Apps mobile stuff. Read More
Thinking about buying a tablet? Make sure you check out AT&T first! They’re offering $100 off any tablet with a 2 year agreement. Yeah you read that right: any tablet. And that includes brand-new devices, like the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 which launched Friday.
The Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 was initially announced a few months ago in NYC, but we had no idea about pricing or release date. Now we know that the contract price is $499.99, minus AT&T’s $100 deal, of course. The Tab 2 is a 10″ device running Android 4 that weighs all of 1.28 pounds, and features 16GB of integrated storage and a 32GB-capable MicroSD card slot. If you’d like to compare that to some of the other tablets out there on the market right now, check out our handy tablet comparison guide.
If you’re looking for your tablet to work seamlessly with your PC, you can also use the $100 off on any of AT&T’s Windows 8 tablets. Both the Asus VivoTab RT and the Samsung ATIV Smart PC are being offered exclusively from AT&T. The Asus VivoTab is a 10.1″ 4G LTE tablet with 32GB of storage. It will also come standard with Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT Preview Edition. But you’ll have to wait: the Asus VivoTab RT won’t be coming till November 16th.
If you’re looking for a Windows 8 tablet now, consider the ATIV. The Samsung ATIV is actually more like a hybrid tablet/computer. The screen is a larger 11.6,” and the device comes with 64GB of storage (unheard of for a tablet) and an Intel Atom Processor. But at 11″ the device is still highly portable, and features a clamshell cover that can be detached if you want to use the machine more like a tablet. It’s a good compromise between portability and productivity that would make a great option for a business traveler, and AT&T’s $100 off deal makes it a good time to buy.
Want to check out the full range of tablets AT&T has on sale? Go to http://www.att.com/100offtablets and take a look: you can get $100 off any tablet AT&T has to offer!
If you’re still not sure about Windows 8 mobile devices, it may be time to change your mind. Ever since we first got a chance to see it, we’ve loved the design of the HTC’s Windows Phone 8X. Now that the phone is available from AT&T we’re loving the price, too: the 8GB model is only $99 with a 2-year contract, and the 16GB is only $199. The HTC Windows Phone 8X is a great deal for customers who want top-quality design and performance, but don’t want to spend a ton to get it.
We love that this device isn’t one of the giant screen “mega-phones,” but instead has the right form and factor and size to be truly practical and comfortable. It’s light and sleek, but the 4.3″ display is big enough to make using the device a fun experience. But it’s not like the device sacrifices specs to be light and thin, either. Both model will boast impressive specs, including a Qualcomm dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, an 8MP camera, BeatsAudio technology for superior sound and a 341ppi “Super LCD” screen.
The 8GB model will be available in either California Blue or Limelight Yellow, while the 16GB model comes exclusively in California Blue. Want to see it in action? Watch our video below.
Pre-orders for both the Nokia Lumia 920 and the Lumia 820 begin today at AT&T. Amazingly, the insanely fast and feature-rich Lumia 920 is available for only $99 (contract price), while the 820 will go for $49.99 (also contract price).
Available exclusively on AT&T, the Lumia 920 is without a doubt the Nokia new flagship device for the holiday season. In the past few years the company has lost ground to manufacturers like Apple and Samsung, and the Lumia 920 is Nokia’s comeback effort. And it’s a strong one. Ton win back users, they’re offering a great deal: a premium phone at a budget-conscious price.
The Lumia 920 is all about offering lots of features. First of all, it’s got 32 GB of space, which is unheard of in a top of the line smartphone under $200. There are turn-by-turn directions. You can use the touchscreen with gloves on. And it can be charged wirelessly with a charging plate, without any additional software or bulky cases.
The build is serious too, with 4G LTE, a 1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and a 4.5″ inch display. And like previous Nokia offerings, they’ve put a lot of work into the 8.7 MP camera. There’s a Carl Zeiss lens, and proprietary camera technology called PureView that allows for better image stabilization for low-light photos. Read more on the specs and features of the Lumia 920 here.
And colors. Let’s not forget about the colors here. Cyan, red, yellow, black, and white. The design factor of the Lumia 920 is definitely bold, and is interesting after several years of mostly black and glass phones.
For the more budget-conscious, Nokia is also offering the Lumia 820, a more mid-range version of the 920. It will run off the same Snapdragon Processor, but feature a slightly smaller screen at 4.3 inches, and only comes with 8GB of internal memory. Still, it’s a very powerful smartphone for only $49.99. Click here for more information and to pre-order the Nokia Lumia 820.
Despite the East Coast being completely shut down by Hurricane Sandy, Microsoft is going full steam ahead with their Windows Phone 8 announcement today in San Francisco. One of the phones that we’re finally allowed to show off, and the Windows Phone 8 device I’m most excited about, is the HTC Windows Phone 8X. Check out the video above to see my quick look at the phone.
We’re still waiting to hear about pricing and availability, so we’ll be updating this post later today if those are announced at the Microsoft event.
Lighter, thinner, sleeker, and softer than the Nokia Lumia 920, this is the Windows Phone I’m declaring the early winner in the race between manufacturers to bring out exciting new phones this holiday season. I’ve gotten a couple of chances to play with the phone now, first at the the AT&T Unveiled event last month and, last week, in-person and hands-on with Mario. For my thoughts, be sure to check out the video above.
UPDATE: 2:03 PM EDT:
Steve Ballmer is on stage now in San Francisco hyping up the Windows Phone 8X. Pricing and availability are not being announced at this time, but this phone will be available in November.
[This] is a remarkable phone. HTC’s designers saw our Live Tiles and were inspired to build Windows Phones from the ground up… Both the Windows Phone 8X and its little brother the 8S have killer sound thanks to beats audio and built in amps… Movies and music really sound incredible on these phones
– Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer
In the meantime, the AT&T Press Release has some of the tech specs for this phone:
The stunning Windows Phone 8X boasts an iconic design, immersive studio-quality sound and incredible camera capabilities. The first-ever Windows Phone 8 device with built-in Beats Audio™ technology, Windows Phone 8X offers authentic, studio-quality sound that delivers the spirit of the original recording. The 4.3-inch 720p HD (1280 x 720) display comes to life in the phone’s slim, sculpted design and improvements to the rear-facing camera let you capture great photos and record video in 1080p HD.
While we wait to find out what Google phone (or phones!) are going to be the next Nexus phones, possibly an alternate version of the LG Optimus G smartphone running a new version of Google’s Android OS, pre-orders for the actual, existing Optimus G are already starting on AT&T.
What is the Optimus G?
The new high-end smartphone from Korean smartphone giant LG, the Optimus G is a totally loaded smartphone featuring some of the highest end specs available today. The phone includes Qualcomm’s 1.5 GHz Quad-Core Snapdragon S4, 2GB RAM, and 32GB of storage memory (expandable up to an insane 80GB with a micro SD card).
There are a few standout features of this new phone, detailed below. Read More
Do you carry two phones, one for work and one for personal use? Or do you find that work stuff is crowding out the fun stuff on your smartphone? Anyone who’s using mobile devices to stay constantly connected inevitably ends up needing access to work and personal at all times…it’s just not always very convenient.
Enter AT&T Toggle, a new program designed to let you use one device for everything. Essentially, Toggle has 2 modes (business and personal) that you can switch between, depending on what you’re doing. They are 2 different environments with different apps, settings, etc., and they’re also completely separate from each other, so you don’t have to worry about personal photos accidentally showing up in a REALLY wrong place at a really wrong time! In business mode, users can access all their work contacts, email, and calendars, just like a regular corporate-issued device. Personal mode is the same experience you’ve gotten used to on your device, complete with fun stuff.
It’s also really great for small business owners and IT managers who have security concerns, but also have employees who want to use their own devices. Using the AT&T Toggle Hub, IT managers can control what a user’s “business mode” looks like. There’s a web interface to manage what apps business mode includes, as well as manage access to files and resources, and remotely wipe the device if it’s lost or if the employee leaves the organization. Managers can even “lock” work mode to keep an employee out…sounds like a good way to make sure people actually relax on their vacation!
Plus, AT&T Toggle works on smartphones and tablets running iOS or Android, and is available on most major wireless carriers. That makes it easy to accomodate employees in a professional world where bring-your-own-device is becoming more and more common. Click here for more information on how to use AT&T Toggle to streamline your small business’s mobile use.