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.