At 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.