Consumers can now purchase a Surface Pro with cellular connectivity, a configuration that was previously reserved for Microsoft’s business customers.
In December 2017, Microsoft began offering commercial customers its new Surface Pro tablet with an LTE Advanced option, allowing users to stay connected on the road as long as they receive a cell signal from a compatible wireless service provider.
Microsoft claims this Surface Pro is the fastest LTE-enabled device in its class, reaching download speeds of 450 Mbps compared to the 300 Mbps speeds of its rivals.
But It turns out that consumers didn’t have to wait long to buy one.
Microsoft quietly added the Windows 10 device, dubbed Commercial Microsoft Surface Pro with LTE Advanced, to its online store in the U.S., making it available to anyone with a valid credit card. Prices start at $1,149 for a model powered by an Intel i5 processor and with 128 GB of storage and 4GB of RAM. Another model, also featuring an Intel Core i5 processor, but with twice the storage capacity and RAM, is available for $1,449.
Demand appears to be brisk, at least in some configurations. As of this writing, both LTE configurations are sold out online, but they are available for in-store pickup in some brick-and-mortar Microsoft stores.
According to Microsoft’s product listing, users can expect up to 13.5 hours of battery life. It’s more than enough juice for a coast-to-coast flight, but soon a new class of Windows PCs will be able to last much longer between charges.
On Dec. 5, Microsoft was joined by Hewlett Packard (HP) and Asus at the Qualcomm Snapdragon Technology Summit in Maui, Hawaii to unveil “Always Connected PCs” powered by Arm-based processors. Windows PCs typically run on x86 processors from Intel and AMD.
In the spring of 2018, HP plans to ship the Envy x2, which resembles Microsoft’s own Surface Pro portable. Rather than pack an Intel chip, it is capable of running full Windows on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor that widely used in mobile phones. It also supports the 4G LTE-Advanced standard for high-speed connectivity over wireless networks, but it can deliver up to 20 hours of battery life or 700 hours in standby mode.
HP Envy x2 will run Windows 10 S, the education-focused version of the operating system that only supports apps from the Microsoft Store (formerly Windows Store). Users will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro, but that’s an irreversible process. HP will share pricing and mobile carrier support as its release date approaches.
Meanwhile, Asus is readying a 13.3-inch convertible laptop with 22 hours of battery life, the NovaGo.
Featuring a Qualcomm X16 LTE modem for speedy data transfers, the Taiwanese PC maker claims that the NovaGo is the “world’s first Gigabit LTE laptop.”
Its flash storage subsystem, with up to 256GB Universal Flash Storage 2.0 (UFS 2.0), can transfer data at a rate of up to 1,400Mbps, faster than standard SSDs, for snappy application performance and file operations.