I'm going to begin with a short public service announcement. If you're reading this and your turkey is still in the freezer, you're in trouble. The odds of getting it thawed in time to cook for Thanksgiving tomorrow are virtually zero. I recommend using the quick-thawing method where you soak the frozen turkey in water. It will still take about half an hour for every pound of your turkey, and you have to change out the water every 30 minutes, but at least you'll still be able to get that 15-pound turkey thawed by tomorrow... not that I've ever personally made the mistake of forgetting to take the turkey out of the freezer in time. I'm just trying to be helpful.
Okay, now that we've dealt with Thanksgiving and any last-minute turkey-related emergencies, let's move on to what you do after the last touchdown has been scored, the last piece of pumpkin pie has been eaten, and the tryptophan coma is starting to wear off — Black Friday! When the holiday shopping season officially kicks off this week, Microsoft will have a few deals of its own to offer.
Microsoft has gotten a bit of a jumpstart with one of its deals. The Xbox One is already discounted to $350 (USD). In addition to the Xbox One bargain, the ASUS EeeBook X205TA laptop will be available at Staples for only $100 — and it includes 100 GB of OneDrive storage for two years. Microsoft is also teaming up with AT&T and Fitbit to offer a Lumia 830 bundled with a Fitbit Flex for $100.
The best Black Friday news from Microsoft, however, is the Surface tablet discounts. You can get $100 off a Surface Pro 3 i5 model from Microsoftstore.com, Microsoft retail outlets, Best Buy, and other select retailers. Between you and me, the Core i5 models offer the best bang for your buck anyway, so $100 off just makes them that much better. If you want a little more power, though — or a little less — Microsoft still has you covered. You can also get Surface Pro 3 i7 models — or a Surface 2 tablet — for $150 off.
I'm a huge fan of the Surface Pro tablets. I had a Surface Pro 2, and then I upgraded to the Surface Pro 3. The Surface Pro 3 is both the tablet that can replace your laptop and the laptop that can replace your tablet, and I highly recommend anyone in the market for a new PC seriously consider one of the Core i5 Surface Pro 3 tablets.
I'm not alone either. Microsoft announced last week that Lufthansa just purchased more than 5,000 Surface Pro 3 tablets for its pilots, and Austrian Airlines has begun to deploy 950 Surface Pro 3 tablets to its pilots for use as electronic flight bags (EFBs). Issuing tablets cuts down on the amount of paper used and drastically reduces the weight of the pilot's bag, plus it enables pilots to have current data and access it more efficiently for better in-flight productivity.
The Microsoft Black Friday discounts on the Surface tablets lasts from Thanksgiving Day (November 27) through Cyber Monday (December 1). Microsoft is also teasing that there will be some additional deals announced for Cyber Monday. Let the shopping begin!
Do you plan to purchase a Surface Pro 3 this holiday season? What price point do you consider to be an irresistible deal? Share your thoughts in the discussion thread below.
Tony Bradley is a principal analyst with Bradley Strategy Group. He is a respected authority on technology, and information security. He writes regularly for Forbes, and PCWorld, and contributes to a wide variety of online and print media outlets. He has authored or co-authored a number of books, including Unified Communications for Dummies, Essential Computer Security, and PCI Compliance.