12 Comments

Summary:

As Windows computers morph into tablets, expect more such devices to be found in network operator stores. Case in point: AT&T will sell Samsung’s Smart PC with mobile broadband radio for $799 without contract. Is the price too high for what you’re getting?

Samsung Smart PC

AT&T will offer Samsung’s ATIV Smart PC, a new Windows 8 tablet with integrated mobile broadband radio, for $799 beginning on Nov. 9. The 9.9-millimeter thin tablet can run for up to 14.5 hours on a charge and comes with 64 GB of storage and the ability to expand that to 96 GB with an optional microSD card. At this price, however, don’t expect top-of-the-line performance as this model runs on Intel’s Atom chip, not the Intel Core i5 processor coming in Samsung’s Smart PC Pro.

Although Microsoft’s own Surface RT doesn’t yet have integrated 3G or 4G, consumers are likely to compare the new Samsung tablet to it. For $100 less, someone can buy a 64 GB Surface RT with included keyboard. However, that model runs on an ARM-powered chip, which is typically used to run smartphones and non-Windows tablets. Still, I think a $799 Smart PC will be a tough sell. The device doesn’t include a stand or dock — it’s a $50 option — nor does it include a keyboard; something that Windows 8 users will likely want.

AT&T notes that the dual-core Intel Atom chip runs up to 1.5 GHz and the tablet includes a trial version of Office 2010. Also, because this is Windows 8 and not Windows RT, the Smart PC can run all older Windows applications. And the slate can be upgrade to Windows 8 Pro in the future, at an additional cost. Even so, I don’t see a huge number of sales at $800 plus additional costs for important options. On the plus side, the Smart PC purchase requires no device contract and can be added to AT&T Mobile Share Plans for as little as $10 per month.

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  1. Besides the Intel anchor and Win7 as obvious drawbacks, note that AT&T (and Verizon) continue to gouge 3G/4G device users by not offering unsubsidized pricing for data plans.

    Switching to a data share plans is always more expensive, as Verizon execs gleefully mentioned on their quarterly call.

    Meanwhile, the FCC sits on its hands. Nice monopoly, if you can get it.

  2. I wonder if there will be a GOBI option available for this PC. That removes the carrier “lock in” when deciding who you want mobile service with. Many laptops and tablets offer that which is a big advantage for unsubsidized devices.

  3. Terrible pricing, just an obvious money grab. I purchased this same EXACT tablet from Staples a week ago for $599 and ATT wants $200 more just for the cellular?!? I was assuming for that price it would bring the keyboard (which mine did not) but sounds like it doesn’t.

    BTW It’s an incredibly awesome Tablet. I was going to return it and get the ATT one, but now I might as well save the $200 and the $10/month and just tether it to my phone whenever I need the internet.

    It’s a shame, the Windows devices are quite awesome but Microsoft is being hamstrung in every single direction (including by themselves).

  4. The “comparable” 64gb iPad on LTE is $829. The price of the Ativ Smart PC seems to be in-line with the market leader.

  5. Does the ATT version come with the S-pen stylus?

    1. I believe so; the Stylus isn’t an optional add-on that I know of.

    2. unfortunately not – that puts my probability of getting one to ZERO.

  6. Kevin any idea if it comes with the keyboard?

    1. I don’t believe it comes with the keyboard. :(

      1. No keyboard, no s-pen – it looks more like a joke

  7. @techguy it looks more like a joke because…the comparable iPad comes with a Stylus Pen and a Bluetooth Keyboard?

    :^/

  8. I just purchased one and AT&T is running a special where you get the Microsoft Wedge bluetooth keyboard free with the purchase, plus another $100 off if you by a Windows 8 Smart phone when you by the tablet. No case is included and no stylus, but you can always ask a manager to include some free accessories. They often will or if they say no, nothing lost.

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