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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Tablets and Laptops for the holidays!

Here is a quick rundown on some tech that may be great for the small business owner. I ran thru the Staples store and jotted down some picks that you should check out and see if they are right for you.

For those of you moving to Windows 8 for the 1st time, one of the things you’ll notice at the store are all the “8 Was Easy” signs. This is basically a program which helps you move to Windows 8, without the stress. You can get free personalized training on the new OS, and with the purchase of a computer that goes for $699 or more, their certified Microsoft advisors will transfer your data from the old machine to the new one, no strings attached!

I always tell people go in to the store and test drive the devices and compare them for yourself. If you haven’t used Windows 8 yet, I’d strongly recommend you try it on both a touchscreen and non-touchscreen device before buying. While you may not know if you want a touchscreen device yet, after trying one out you may be singing a different tune.

Since there are so many different types of tablets, laptops, and in-between devices on the market these days, it’s hard to know what to buy. I’m going to make it easy for you by talking briefly about a few of the choices I found at the Staples store:

Lenovo ThinkPad Twist

Lenovo ThinkPad Twist in Action

It’s a laptop… no it’s a tablet… wait, it’s a Lenovo! The Lenovo ThinkPad Twist is a unique laptop because when you need to take it on the go but keep working you just twist the screen around and BAM! You suddenly have a tablet computer in your hands. You can check out my Tech Tip Tuesday video to see it in action—you really won’t believe what a unique device this is and how it bridges the gap between laptop and tablet until you get into a store and try it for yourself though!

Samsung ATIV Windows 8 Tablet

The Samsung ATIV Windows 8 tablet runs an Intel Atom processor, so that means a lot of benefits, like long battery life and no noisy fan. Plus, you can buy a keyboard dock the tablet snaps into and suddenly you’ve turned this tablet into a laptop with a full keyboard and mouse! How cool is that?

HP Envy 4

HP Envy 4 Ultrabook

An Intel Ultrabook-branded laptop at a budget laptop price? Yup! That’s the sub-$700 HP Envy 4, a lightweight and portable machine that will handle almost any task you throw at it, from business work to playing movies or games. Now, because it’s a budget machine, there are some sacrifices you have to be willing to accept. First up, there’s a traditional hard drive in this machine, not an ultra-fast SSD like in some other Ultrabook models like the Sony I talk about below. While that won’t impact gaming or video editing performance, it will mean that the computer is slower to boot up and that apps will launch slower than on some other, more expensive machines. Also, there’s no touchscreen on this one. So you’ll want to go into the store and try it out before deciding if this is the Ultrabook for you.

Sony T13 Touch Ultrabook
This is a touch screen with a screaming fast latest-gen Intel Core i5 processor, a 32GB SSD for Windows & Apps, a 500GB standard hard drive for all your documents, photos and music. 6 GB of RAM, an HD webcam, and of course, the beautiful touchscreen round out the package. With an attractive aluminum lid and awesome Sony style, this is an Ultrabook that makes sure you have it all, and is available for under 900 bucks!

Nexus 7 from Google

Google Nexus 7

While not a Windows 8 device, it’s hard to argue with this Android tablet’s $199 starting price tag. The best made 7” Android tablet on the market, this guy is perfect for working through your email, handling some light editing on documents or spreadsheets, or even just playing a game or watching a movie while traveling. While not a replacement for a laptop by any means, this little guy is a great companion to any of the machines I’ve talked about above.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Hey readers, this is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a gift, a payment or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I have tested personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Staples Tech Tip Tuesday: A Look at Several New Windows 8 Devices

This holiday season, you’ll want to consider shopping at Staples for a hot new Windows 8 device like the ones featured in the video above. From the innovative laptop/tablet hybrid Lenovo Twist, to the Intel-Atom powered Samsung ATIV and the HP Envy 4 Ultrabook, by going in-store and playing with these devices yourself, you’ll be able to really figure out what product will make the right gift for your family or friends. Plus, with the “8 Was Easy” campaign we’ve talked about before, Staples makes sure that you get the help and support you need, for FREE, when upgrading to Microsoft’s latest operating system.

Every Tuesday between November 13, 2012 and December 18, 2012, Staples will be giving away a great piece of technology, including the hottest Ultrabooks, Tablets and Headphones. Tune in every Tuesday to YouTube, Socialcam, or my blog to find out about the product and what’s being given away, then tune into my Twitter account at 7PM Eastern every Tuesday night to answer a question for a chance to win some hot tech!

Windows Phone 8X by HTC Launches Today Starting at $99 on AT&T

HTC Windows Phone 8X
HTC Windows Phone 8X in California Blue, Starting at $99

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.

Click to here to order now from AT&T.

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 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.

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