Menu
Microsoft wants to enable cellular PCs, but will carriers bite?

Microsoft wants to enable cellular PCs, but will carriers bite?

The company wants to offer cell plans for sale through the Windows Store, but that might not fly

Spending time traveling can be a frustrating exercise in trying to find Wi-Fi. So much modern work often requires an internet connection, and while it’s possible to tether smartphones to PCs to help bridge the connectivity gap, that’s a clunky solution.

Microsoft is aiming to help with that by supporting the installation of non-removable programmable SIM cards and data radios in PCs and Windows tablets. In the company's vision, users will then be able to purchase cellular data for those cards through the Windows Store. The announcement was made Thursday at the company’s WinHEC conference for device manufacturers in Shenzhen, China.

By enabling the new form of internet access, Microsoft could give users an easy way to get online right from their computer, and encourage manufacturers to build cellular-capable devices. Users would also get settings to help them better manage the use of data plans, so it’s easier for them to control how much data apps can suck up.

But there’s a wrinkle in that plan: cellular carriers will have to get on board with selling plans through the Windows Store, which will likely be a tougher sell. For example, Apple offers a programmable SIM card for some iPad models, which is supposed to let users select data plans for their tablets on the go.

Even though it’s possible for people in the US to pick between T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T when they set up cellular service with an Apple SIM, that initial choice could end up restricting them in the future. If users pick AT&T as their carrier, the SIM will be locked to only work with that carrier.

If Microsoft adopted a similar model to Apple's, that could put users in a bind. With a LTE-enabled iPad, users can just replace their SIM to switch carriers, but Microsoft is talking about enabling devices with integrated, non-removable cards. If users' integrated SIMs get locked to a particular carrier, they could be left in the lurch if they move to a region where that carrier has poor coverage.

Furthermore, the Apple SIM hasn’t made its way to the iPhone yet, even though Apple has supported it in the iPad for the past two years. If Apple can’t pull that off, can Microsoft do it with the help of manufacturing partners?

We'll have to wait for the products to come to market before we find out. 


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftWindows 10

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments