Microsoft announced today that it is launching a version of the Surface 2 that includes a built-in LTE modem. The new tablet, named the Surface 2 (AT&T 4G LTE), will sport 64GB of storage, and retail for $679. As the name implies, it’s only usable on AT&T’s wireless network at the moment.
The new tablet was first mentioned last year, when Panos Panay, a Microsoft Corporate Vice President on the Surface team, told Reddit that the company planned to release an LTE-capable version of the Surface 2. Last month, the device appeared in one of Microsoft’s FCC filings, and now it’s here.
Interested customers will be able to pick up the tablet from Microsoft Stores, Microsoft’s online store and Best Buy locations starting tomorrow. The awkwardly-named device marks the first time Microsoft has launched a version of the surface that’s capable of using a cellular data connection to get on the internet while on the go.
It’s a key move for Microsoft, considering that Apple has offered users the option to include cellular data capabilities in its iPad tablets ever since they launched in 2010. While Microsoft has touted the Surface’s capabilities as a business machine since the tablet launched, its lack of a cellular modem meant that it wasn’t as useful for people who frequently work away from a Wi-Fi signal.
As far as pricing goes, it looks like Microsoft is taking a page out of Apple’s book. Like the iPad, the LTE-equipped Surface 2 costs $130 more than its Wi-Fi only counterpart.
Users who want more power in their tablet and an LTE connection will be disappointed by today’s offering. The Surface Pro 2 won’t be getting the same LTE treatment, at least not yet.