Microsoft Announces Surface Starting at $499, Pre-Orders Start Today

Microsoft Surface with Touch CoverWe were all set for the Microsoft Surface announcement next week (they sent us an invite and everything) and then all the sudden this morning, we have more details about the device than have leaked out over the last six months.

First off, the 32 GB Microsoft Surface RT will cost you $499. There’s also a 64GB model that will be $599. Both will come pre-loaded with Windows 8 and Windows. Microsoft is also offering 2 different kind of covers, both of which double as keyboards. The touch cover has flat keys that are pressure sensitive, and costs $120. The type cover has more traditional keys that can actually be pushed, and will set you back $130. If you know you’d like both, you can buy the Surface + cover together for $599 (32GB) or $699 (64GB).

Microsoft will be taking pre-orders at starting today at 12pm Pacific/3PM Eastern. Devices will then start shipping October 26th. You’ll also be able to purchase the device at one of Microsoft’s new retail stores, if you happen to live near one…and they’re planning to have 44 stores open by the middle of next year, not including temporary holiday stores.

We’ll take more next week about the specs, user experience, hardware and more next week when we attend the Microsoft Windows 8 & Surface event in NYC. Anything you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments!


Pre-Order Windows 8 Devices for Small Business from Staples

Today Staples started taking Windows 8 pre-orders for a huge variety of devices. It doesn’t officially ship til October 26th, but Windows 8 pre-order will let you be one of the first to get your hands on a brand-new device with Microsoft’s redesigned operating system. There are tons of devices to choose from, from tablets and ultrabooks to high-end touchscreen laptops. Here are a couple of our favorites for mobile productivity:

Staples Windows 8 Pre-Sale Samsung Slate 5
Samsung Series 5
It’s the best of both worlds: the tablet and the laptop. When you pop the tablet into the docking station you get a super-portable laptop that weighs under 2 pounds. Plus it’s designed to work together the the S-Pen stylus, which we love.

Staples Windows 8 Pre-Order Sony VAIO Ultrabook


Sony VAIO Touchscreen Ultrabook
This is dedicated 13.3″ Ultrabook that doesn’t sacrifice ports and connections OR processing power to be incredibly portable, making it a good business choice. Weighs in at 3.77 pounds, with a promised 5.5 hours of battery life, making it a good all-around machine.


There’s more where that came from! See all of the Windows 8 pre-order devices available from Staples.

Staples Windows 8 Pre-Order Devices

Plus Staples has also announced their free “8 Was Easy” program to make the switch completely painless. They’ll help you set up your new machine to take advantage of Windows 8’s new features and optimize your device’s performance. They’ll also walk you through key new features like the new Windows App Store and Skydrive, Microsoft’s new cloud storage program. AND they’ll help you transfer all of your old data to your new machine or a backup device of your choice for free. That’s a lot of incentive to do your Windows 8 upgrade, especially when you throw in the free phone support!

Click here to pre-order your Windows 8 device before the official launch.

Are you planning to upgrade? What do you think of the new tile layout? What upgrades do you want from Windows 8? Let us know!

Pre-order your Windows 8 device today from Staples and get FREE help moving to the new OS

This holiday shopping season, I’m going to be working with Staples to help you pick the best holiday tech gifts! In the coming weeks, you’re going to see some great content from us but I can’t spoil too much of it, so today I’m just bringing you an exciting announcement:

Starting today, Staples is accepting pre-orders for a variety of Windows 8 devices, including slates, tablets, touchscreen laptops and more.

The new “tiles” interface in Windows 8

While Windows 8 devices aren’t in stores quite yet, by pre-ordering one today you can be sure to be one of the first people to bring home one of these exciting new devices. The Windows 8 interface, seen to the right, is a radical change to the operating system from Microsoft, and as these devices start to hit store shelves in the next few weeks you’ll get a chance to see (and to touch!) what Microsoft has been cooking up since Windows 7 launched in 2009.

With the “8 Was Easy” program from Staples, they’re making it super simple to get up and running with your new PC from day one. With any computer purchase of $699 or more, Staples will move all of the data from your old desktop, laptop, or external hard drive to your new computer. Or, you can get that same service for just $69.99 for a computer under $699.

Staples is also offering free personalized training with a Microsoft certified advisor to make sure you learn everything about the new operating system. They’ll show you how to navigate the new interface, set up your tiles on your Start screen to get a personalized Windows 8 experience, walk you through the new Windows App Store, and show you how to get your files into Skydrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage system that will help you backup your documents and access them from anywhere.

And what if you have more questions down the line? Staples will be providing free support to help you with any problem you have moving to Windows 8. They’re got a toll free number you can call 12 hours a day during the week to answer your questions, and they’ll be running that service through the end of January.

You can pre-order a Windows 8 device from Staples today by visiting the link:

But what if you need a machine right now, and want to upgrade to Windows 8 when it’s launched later this month? Staples has a great solution for that too.

The Windows 8 upgrade offer from Staples is a great value if you need a machine right now. First up, you can get the Windows 8 upgrade when it’s available for just $15 from Microsoft by registering your purchase at Then, you can get a $15 pre-paid Visa gift card back from Staples by registering at Finally, you get online training and free phone support from Staples so you’ll be covered if you run into any problems migrating to the new OS. So you’re practically getting Windows 8 for free, plus free tech support. It’s a win-win.

Microsoft Windows 8, Surface Coming October 25th

windows 8 and surface reception invitationMark your calendars now: we got the official invite to “celebrate” Windows 8 and the Microsoft Surface later this month in NYC! It’ll be an all-day event on October 25th as (presumably) Ballmer and team introduce us to the new Windows operating system that will also be powering a lot of the new smartphones coming for the holiday season (like the HTC 8X that we are very excited to get our hands on).

But perhaps the most interesting part of the day will be the launch of Surface, Microsoft’s long-awaited competitor to the iPad. We’ve talked before about how this is a crucial move for Microsoft as they try to catch up in the world of mobile devices, and we’ll all be waiting to see if Windows 8 seems like a real competitor to the more established mobile operating systems, iOS and Android.

There’s a lot riding on this event for Microsoft, and luckily we’ll be there to capture it all right here on the blog and of course on the smallbizgomobile twitter account.

Microsoft Office on the iPad & Android Tablet

Tablets have revolutionized our leisure computing. We can browse the web on our laps while we watch TV. Food magazines become full-color digital spreads right in our kitchens. And the email, of course. There’s always more email. But tablets haven’t been great work devices, not least because there’s no Microsoft Office on the iPad.

Now tablets have taken another step toward being all-around machines that can handle work too, thanks to CloudOn. Available on both the iPad and Android devices, CloudOn brings you the full Microsoft Office Suite using you guessed it, the power of the cloud. That means Powerpoint on the plane or tracking Word changes wherever.

Since it’s in the cloud, CloudOn links to both DropBox and Google Drive to make it easy to access, write and save files. Plus CloudOn automatically saves as you work, just in case.

We don’t advocate working on vacation, but if you’re planning to get away and worried something may come up, this could be the perfect strategy for coping without having to bring your fully decked-out work computer.

Microsoft Surface (Running Windows 8) Coming October 26th

Microsoft Surface
Microsoft Surface, image courtesy Microsoft

It’s finally confirmed: Microsoft Surface, Microsoft’s groundbreaking entry to the personal computer/tablet market, will be available to users starting October 26, 2012, along with Windows 8, the latest incarnation of the Windows OS .

A long time in the making, Microsoft first debuted the Surface to the world just last month, but without a firm release date or a price tag attached. And while we still don’t know much a Surface will set you back, we do know a little of what you’ll get.

The most prominent (and innovative) feature of Microsoft Surface is its built-in keyboard that doubles as a cover to protect the machine’s screen, a clever innovation. Even with the cover, Surface is only 9.3mm thick (for comparison, that’s .2mm thinner than the latest iPad) but still manages to incorporate a full-size USB port and a Micro SD card. And while journalists haven’t been given Surfaces to review yet, we do know that they will be running Windows 8, which gives us a sense of the device’s interaction experience.

Why is Surface so noteworthy?

Well, if you’ve bought a PC lately, it was likely from Sony, HP, Dell, Acer or another manufacturer. It certainly wasn’t from Microsoft, and that’s because until now Microsoft has limited its forays into the hardware business to peripherals like keyboards and mice. The Surface tablet changes that, putting Microsoft into direct competition with its pals: the PC manufacturers.

Given its incredible portability, keyboard, and the fact that Windows is still the preferred OS for many business applications, Surface has the potential to be the first device to truly bridge the tablet/laptop divide. But only if the device — and Windows 8 — live up to their potential.

Are people more important than apps? Microsoft, Nokia and AT&T are betting on it.

Today is the second day of CES and out of everything I’ve heard so far one line in particular, from AT&T CEO of Mobility Ralph de la Vega, struck me more than anything else. Speaking of the Windows Phone 7 platform in general, but also specifically about the new Nokia Lumia 900, Ralph said that the phone is “built around people, not applications.”

There’s no doubt that Microsoft is battling RIM for last place in the smartphone market. Even Android, once a laughing stock for it’s complete lack of apps, is today a solid #2 platform behind Apple in terms of both quantity and quality of apps. De La Vega’s quote struck me because it finally admitted something we in the industry all know: Microsoft is in no position to compete with Apple on apps. Apple customers are paying customers, and they buy apps in droves. Apple’s App Store is the most profitable mobile marketplace by a long shot, attracting the hottest developers and most exciting apps first.

But can people replace apps as the new metric by which a phone platform is judged? Read More

RIM and Microsoft Team up to Offer BES to Office 365 Files

Office 365 is Microsoft’s cloud offering for all your Office documents. No matter where you are or what computer you’re on, you can access your documents via the web. It makes sense that Windows Phone devices can access Office 365 documents for mobile productivity even if you’re not on your “computer”.

Since most if not all corporations are using a combination of Microsoft applications, but are still issuing its employees BlackBerry phones; it just makes since that RIM is now offering mobile access to Office 365 services via its BlackBerry Business Cloud Services beta (in other words, BES for Office 365). Read More

The Tablet World is Shaking Up: Microsoft Unveils Windows 8 OS with “Metro” UI for You To Touch

Big changes are coming to the Windows OS environment, as Microsoft unveiled the new Windows 8 OS at its BUILD Conference last week. While there are tons of the changes one typically expects from an OS revision—new features, the removal of some older features, etc.—the big news is that Redmond will be taking the “Metro” user-interface design, first introduced in the Windows Phone 7 mobile OS, and applying it as an across-the-board UI for its desktop, tablet, phone, and Xbox operating systems.  Despite the underwhelming sales of Windows Phone 7 devices (Ballmer himself admits that they haven’t sold as well as he’d like), the Metro UI is really slick, and it’s exciting to see that Microsoft is fully committed to re-imagining the computing experience it provides to consumers.

Sure, in many ways, this is simply Microsoft’s response to Apple’s meteoric rise of the past few years, as OSX and iOS offer fairly consistent cross-platform visual design and UI elements.  What’s exciting about the Windows 8 platform, though, is that it’s not Apple-like at all; Microsoft’s clearly put an enormous amount of resources into completely re-imagining the computing experience, and are attempting to essentially out-Apple the competition by releasing a system that’s genuinely innovative and unprecedented.  In many respects, this is probably the most significant new version of Windows since the introduction of Windows 3.1 almost twenty years ago. Read More

Google is Acquiring Motorola—But What Does it Mean?

This week’s big news is Google’s proposed $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility.  There’s been a barrage of news and analysis surrounding this announcement, so we here at SmallBizGoMobile are going to distill it all down, and try to separate the facts from the hype, and the PR buzz from the players’ “real” motivations. Read More