Microsoft Surface 2: New and Improved and Maybe Selling

surface 2It looks like the new Microsoft Surface models (the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2) may be gaining more traction this time around: since its debut at a New York event last week the company has announced that its first run has nearly reached sold-out status in their online store. However dubious some may find their claims, the new features on the Surface 2 may justify the hype. (And to be fair, it is unclear whether stock in other stores, such as Best Buy or even Microsoft’s retails locations, is affected by the pre-order mania).

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What’s Up With Microsoft Surface?

Back in 2012, Microsoft was working hard to compete with the Apple juggernaut. Unsurprisingly, they threw their hopes into the mobile space, the biggest part of Apple’s business and pretty much universally regarded as the future of computing. They released Windows 8, their first mobile-optimized operating system, and, inspired by Apple’s business model and their own success with the X-Box, they decided to make their jump into computer hardware with the Microsoft Surface—Microsoft’s mobile tablet/computer hybrid.

There was a lot of hype surrounding the release of the Surface, and it was hoped that it would catch on as powerfully as the iPad and reinvigorate the flagging company. It’s been about a year, however, and it looks like the Surface, which we thought was pretty good, didn’t quite live up to the hopes of either consumers or Microsoft. Read More

New Devices: How Well Are the Nokia Lumia and Microsoft Surface Selling?

Mario Surface review
Microsoft Surface

Warning: this post is going to have a lot of conjecture, since it’s incredibly difficult (if not impossible) to get official sales numbers out of a lot of companies. And some companies (ahem, Apple) have a tendency to claim they are experiencing supply problems because demand is so great — presumably to create the illusion that they’re product is super hot. So while we may not be able to figure out exactly who has sold what, we can still try to make a few educated guesses about how the devices are performing.

Nokia Lumia
If you do a quick search, you’ll see plenty of articles saying “The Nokia Lumia 920 is out of stock!” But that’s not actually helpful – we still don’t know how many phones actually sold, or why they’re out of stock. It’s not a number, but BGR is reporting that the Lumia 920 was AT&T’s third-selling phone behind the iPhone and the Galaxy SIII in November. But According to the Wall Street Journal (subscription required), as of the bginning of December the Lumia has barely sold 100,000 units in China, the biggest smartphone market in the world. That’s troubling for the Lumia, since 100,000 units is nothing, and anecdotally China has quite a bit of interest in the phone, at least compared to here. Bottom line: the Lumia is not the hit Nokia hoped for, but it’s doing OK, and it will keep Nokia in the game until they can release their next device.

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UPDATED: Tablet Buying Guide: Comparing Major Brands, Specs & Prices

UPDATED 11/6: We’ve added Barnes & Noble’s Nook tablets. For more on the Nook, go here.

UPDATED 10/31: We’ve added Google’s new Nexus 10 tablet to the chart. For more on the Nexus 10, go here.

It may be impossible for us to pick a tablet for you. After all, personal preferences and needs account for a lot when it comes to gadgets. But we can at least help you know what’s out there! There’s a ton of different choices, so we’ve broken out the specs on some of leading tablets (including Kindle, iPad, Surface and Nexus)  to help you compare and contrast.  Plus we’ll be updating this chart as more devices are released.

A few things to consider as you look at the chart below:

– What size tablet would be the most useful for you? When and where will you use the device most often?
– Is cellular connectivity important to you? There’s a significant price hike on devices with 3G and 4G LTE capabilities (they all include WiFi).
– We’ve listed the base prices below. Upgrades for additional storage or in the case of Kindle, devices without ads, will cost more.
– Pixels per Inch is a good guide to display quality, but quality is also affected by things like contrast and illumination. If this is a big concern, we recommend trying a device in person.

Are we missing a tablet you’re considering purchasing? Have more questions? Let us know in the comments!

tablet comparison chart buying guide
Questions? Let us know in the comments!


Mario’s Hands-On Review of the Microsoft Surface

We’ve had the new Microsoft Surface in our hands for a few days but now that the big Microsoft event happened yesterday, we’re finally allowed to share our hands-on experience with the Microsoft Surface tablet!

The new Surface is a big move from Microsoft as they move to compete head-to-head with Apple and Amazon. And the launch corresponds with the brand-new Windows 8 operating system too. In the video, I walk you through how the new Windows (called Windows RT on tablets) is new and different. Plus I demonstrate the innovative new tablet cover that double as keyboards, called the “Touch” and the “Type,!” We also walk us through the App Store, and give you a general “feel” of using the device. It’s not quite the same as trying it out yourself, but it’s close!

The Surface costs $499. If you want to pick one up try the Microsoft site or the Microsoft retail stores.

For a complete comparison of recent tablets, check out our tablet comparison chart where we compare all the major tablets on the market.

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!


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 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.