prod_ArcTouchSurface_WebAt a Surface 2 preview event in Seattle last night, one of the questions that came up was about Microsoft’s plans for cellular broadband (LTE) versions of its tablets.

Panos Panay, the vice president in charge of the Microsoft Surface, reiterated that the company will come out with a cellular enabled version of the Surface 2, the ARM-based successor to the Surface RT. However, he was clear in ruling out the possibility of cellular connectivity for the Intel-based Surface Pro line.

For the record, here’s the exchange between Panay and a member of the audience.

Question: “I know there’s some demand for a cellular version of the Pro. Do you guys have any plans for that?”

Panay: “No. Sorry, I’m really blatant that way. It’s a bad habit. No. Let me see if I can soften it: Yeah, we’re thinking about it. It’s really hard, all this stuff. … No.”

The decision comes down in part to the positioning of the Surface Pro and the Surface Pro 2 as traditional PC/tablet hybrids, vs. the Surface 2’s role as a direct competitor to the iPad and other ARM-based tablets.

Among other tidbits, Panay noted that the Surface 2 cellular version will debut on AT&T in the U.S. and Vodafone in Europe.

Previously: Microsoft Surface chief: ‘Multiple aspect ratios and sizes’ are in the works

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  • Thomas R.

    I expect them to backtrack just like they did with Xbox One in a few months. You would think that Microsoft would learn by now to build what users want, especially with hardware, rather then build what they think users want.

  • John Howell

    Bad move on their part. I imagine it’s a big issue for a lot of people, especially outside of the US. It’s the only thing stopping me buying the Pro version of the Surface 2. If it had LTE onboard I would already have ordered one…

  • guest

    That’s just stupid.

  • John Howell

    Agreed. Would have bought a 4G/LTE Surface pro 2. Without it, no deal.

  • jeff

    No LTE on Surface Pro 2… means no surface product for me at all!

  • Brandon

    Umm…From this article they are.

    Also from a AMA on Reddit with Panos.

    Great question. We didn’t talk about it today, but Surface 2 will be launching an awesome LTE SKU early next year! Nice catch on your part, no one else has asked this question…… what better way to tell people than through Reddit!! Panos

    • Todd Bishop

      Yes, Surface 2 is getting LTE, as I noted in the story above. Surface *Pro* 2 is not, according to what Panos Panay said on Monday night.

      Surface 2 is the ARM-based successor to the Surface RT. Surface Pro 2 is the Intel-based successor to the Surface Pro.

      Hope that helps to clarify.

  • Decker Shado

    I still don’t know why everyone is continuing to complain about this problem that doesn’t exist, and has never existed.

    • John Howell

      It’s definitely a problem if you don’t want to tether your mobile (personally it drives me crazy – on the train and elsewhere – when I have to switch on a mobile hotspot every single time I decide to use my Surface Pro). Also kills the battery life on my phone. When the phone dies, so does my access. When I haven’t bought my phone along with me, I don’t get access. When there is something wrong with my phone or phone software, I don’t get access. I’ve had an iPhone, a Windows Phone, and Android phones – they can all experience problems from time to time. So no, it’s not an issue for you personally, but for others definitely…

      • James

        Did you click on Decker’s link and tried to understand his
        point. You can get a 4G LTE USB Modem which turns your Surface Pro 2 into a 4G/LTE device no hotspot required. Also this approach has both good and bad but it’s up to the individual to decide.

        • John Howell

          I understand the point perfectly, but there is little difference to using a portable hotspot instead of a mobile phone. You still have to carry a separate device with you. They still need to be charged. You’ve got to turn them on and make sure they stay on, etc. It’s a way to get the Internet on your tablet, but its not a better solution. In some ways it’s worse, as you have to carry another device that does nothing else but provide you with Internet access. If it was a good solution, then no one would be buying ANY 4G/LTE iPads or tablets. Clearly there is a big demand for them. Which is why Apple/Samsung and others ALWAYS give you those extra options as Microsoft should too. You may be happy carrying another device around with all the limitations I’ve outlined above, but I, and many other people are not. Building it into the device is a much better solution in my personal opinion.

  • dporteraustin


  • EnoughAlready911

    I wanted to outfit our 50+ sales reps with Surface Pro 3 but the lack of 4G LTE built in has become a show stopper with the sales head. Anyone know of a quality windows based, intel, durable, professional looking tablet, 4G LTE capable built in?

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