The Surface 3 was initially revealed in March, forsaking the Windows RT operating system and an ARM-based processor in exchange for Windows 8 and an Intel Atom processor. When the device finally hit store shelves in May, though, its connectivity options were restricted to Wi-Fi only. That could change in the coming weeks as Microsoft plans to slowly roll out a Surface 3 model with 4G LTE capabilities.
In fact, it's already available in Japan, with mobile broadband service through Y!Mobile. The next phase will see the Surface 3 head to Germany (Deutsche Telekom) and the United Kingdom O2) on July 3, with France (Orange Business Service) and Spain (Movistar) following right behind them at an unknown date. However, this first batch of Surface 3 devices with 4G LTE will only be available to businesses and sales groups, as Microsoft believes that they have the most to gain from the new upgrade.
After the business-related customers get their hands on the tablet in the aforementioned countries, only then will Microsoft have the Surface 3 with 4G LTE commercially available in Germany, France, the UK and the U.S. Customers will be able to choose between two models: one with 64 GB of storage and 2 GB of memory, and the other with 128 GB of storage and 4 GB of memory. Prices for both models have yet to be revealed.
The addition of 4G LTE on the Surface 3 is a much-needed feature. There are times when the local Wi-Fi hotspot is used by a large number of people and the bandwidth is quickly clogged. There's also the case of hotel Wi-Fi, which requires you to pay for a connection that only gives you low bandwidth speeds. And that's not to mention, of course, the security issues inherent in publicly-available Wi-Fi hotspots. In any case, having a mobile broadband connection can help with a faster connection, provided you have a good signal from a cell tower.
From a business perspective, adding the 4G LTE option is just another way for Microsoft to paint the Surface 3 as the only device a given professional might need. The tablet also works as a small laptop, thanks to the optional keyboard, and the switch to the full Windows 8.1 operating system gives it a familiar face and also opens the door to an upgrade to the new Windows 10 at the end of the month.
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