Innovate WNY - Bak USA laptop to be sold across US

2 on Your Side's Nate Benson gives an update on local start-up Bak USA.

BUFFALO, NY - Buffalo's tablet maker is growing and creating new products that will be sold in a retail store across the United States.

“What we’re doing is standing on the fourth floor, one floor down from our headquarters, and this will be built out into a state of the art production facility,” said Ian Donnelly, Senior Business Development Representative for Bak USA. 

It’s an aggressive expansion for tablet maker who recently expanded their product line. 

This expansion, made possible by a new $16 million dollar investment from a Tom Golisano led group of investors and a partnership with Microsoft, means Bak USA will occupy 30,000 sq feet at the former Sheehan Hospital on Michigan Ave.

“What we’re doing as an organization is thoughtfully partnering with a large enterprise that is in line with our mission and our vision and is more closely connected to those we want to work with every day," said Donnelly.

Microsoft retails stores in 78 cities across the United States, each with their own enterprise sales teams focusing on education, municipalities, and healthcare, will sell the new Atlas 12 laptop/tablet hybrid built by Bak USA right here in Buffalo.

“Educational institutions have been forced to use consumer engineered and designed pieces of technology.”

The Atlas 12 isn’t you’re slick looking iPad/MacBook ripoff, although it does look nice. Atlas 12 is a semi-rugged hybrid designed for the classroom. Featuring a spill proof keyboard and trackpad, and tested for drops from over 70-inches.  The 8-hour battery and peripherals such as a handle, stylus, and detachable microscope are Taylor-Made for math and science students K through 12.

“If a device can be specifically built and designed for 6th and 7th grade then it’ll make it,” Donnelly said.

Microsoft began a partnership with Bak USA in the spring of 2016 by offering Windows 10 in the Seal 8 rugged tablet. Now they’ve expanded that relationship by exclusively selling the Atlas 12 through Microsoft Retail and Microsoft Direct. In a statement, Microsoft OEM Vice President Peter Han said:

“We are delighted to continue to expand our relationship with Bak USA as they launch the Atlas 12 with Windows 10.”

Being the only retailer selling the device, Microsoft hopes to eliminate a lot of the shopping around districts and municipalities do for the best deal. As often the case, a buyer will get a quote from Microsoft then head to a Best Buy or other retailer and work for a better deal.

Microsoft is offering the Atlas 12 at $399 for districts and other entities looking to buy en masse. Bak USA can also pre-install any necessary software and even engrave logo’s on to the device.

“Saving districts up to thirty minutes per devices," Donnelly explained, "so that means if you’re a science teacher and you have specific programs for that class we can image devices specific for that science environment.”

As Bak USA prepares the space on the 4th floor, which should be ready to produce products by early 2017, the company hopes to continue their growth and partner with 200 municipalities and districts by fall 2017.

With that growth, Bak USA can work towards the larger goal of using their model of small, local manufacturing in other cities nationwide.

“The long-term obvious plan is to expand our reach and create other facilities where they are engineering and designing devices for specific use cases for those communities," said Donnelly, "providing opportunities to folks who otherwise may have had challenges gaining access to the workforce.”

The Atlas 12 is also available on the Bak USA website for consumer purchase for $449. The price difference is due to the deal with Microsoft Direct, who plans to sell more than one device to districts. 


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