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Microsoft Surface Pro – a true Business Tablet.

Yes – I finally invested in a Microsoft Surface Pro 2. Ever since the release of the Surface, I have been intrigued with this so-called Tablet/Laptop device and how it could benefit me as an Information Technology Consultant.

My first tablet was an Apple iPad 2. This has been a great device, however, I struggled to use it as a business productivity tool. It became more of an entertainment device and an overall distraction from business type activities. I also felt like I needed to jump through hoops to try and configure apps to accomplish certain tasks and objectives. For example, I use Microsoft OneNote to document my client’s networks, passwords, etc. Microsoft published a OneNote app for the iPad, however, it would only allow you to sync your notebooks to SkyDrive (now known as OneDrive). For my particular setup, my Notebooks are stored under my OneDrive Pro account via Office 365. Therefore, this iPad OneNote app was totally useless to me.

Also, as a computer tech, it is often crucial to have a device that will allow you to sign on to customer’s networks in order to diagnosis and resolve issues that they are experiencing. Sure – I could lug around a laptop to accomplish these tasks but I found that to be inefficient on many levels. Now, I can easily carry the Surface Pro 2 in and out of client’s offices like I’m carrying a notebook.

Now – I am not limited to just downloading Apps. I have the ability to carry any and all required software that I need since the Surface Pro is running Windows 8 Pro. Simply said – I don’t need to worry if my tablet of choice has an app for the software I want to run. If I want to run Windows apps, I have that choice too. This includes my favorite app – Netflix.

Suppose there is an Android app that you really like but Microsoft does not offer that same app. No problem. I was recently caught in a similar situation. Square Register, an app that allows you to accept credit card payments, currently has no plans in developing an app for the Windows Phone/Tablet/Computer line. (Side note: I find this absolutely appalling. If you do as well, please sign this online petition.) Upon further research, I found a work around that worked for me. I downloaded and installed BlueStacks app player, which launches a Droid-based emulator. Clearly, this app was developed so that you can run and play your favorite mobile app games such as Candy Crush Saga, FarmVille, etc., however, it does provide you access to the Google Play Store, where you can download and install any app that you may need. Thus, I was able to download and install Square Register. Please note: some apps require “Location Services” to be enabled and running. This was the case with Square Register. BlueStacks player does not support Location Services but its KB provided a solution which was to download an app called “Fake GPS”. Once this app was installed, I was able to set my location and ultimately, run Square Register without a hitch.

Business owners take note – the Surface Pro is the best of both worlds. It’s definitely a worthy tablet and laptop combo that you should consider for your mobile technology needs.