When Microsoft broke into the tablet business in 2012 with the Surface, many folks were skeptical at the lack of cellular data. There wasn't even an option for mobile broadband. It was Wi-Fi or bust. That's all about to change tomorrow. Microsoft's Surface honcho Panos Panay announced a new Surface 2 tablet with 4G LTE built in. From his official statement:
Many of you have told me that you’d like the capability to be online, even when Wi-Fi isn’t available, so you can work, play, share, and communicate wherever you are -- In simple terms, we are CONTINUOUSLY being asked for a Surface that allows you to use mobile broadband. Today we’re announcing Surface 2 (AT&T 4G LTE), a 64GB mobile broadband-ready version of Surface 2 that will be available to purchase for $679 USD (ERP) in the US at Microsoft retail stores, www.MicrosoftStore.com and at BestBuy.com and all Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores, and also available through US commercial resellers beginning tomorrow, March 18.
Is this a sign that Microsoft finally gets it? Tablets are built to roam, but they still rely on Web connectivity for maximum functionality. When you're buckled to the nearest Wi-Fi signal, you're losing out on the value of your tablet. That's why having at least an option to access cellular broadband just makes sense. Unfortunately, the Surface 2's LTE is restricted to the AT&T network. But so were Apple gadgets at first. Hopefully Microsoft will soon expand its service arrangements. Click here to read the full statement from Microsoft VP Panos Panay.