In a bid to get more tablets connected to its network — however briefly — AT&T today announced that it's launching $5 day passes that will offer 250MB of data to tablet owners. The plans can be purchased and enabled directly from tablets that offer cellular connectivity, and AT&T is positioning the day pass as an alternative to iffy hotel Wi-Fi service. Another new plan lets users pay $25 to receive 1GB of data that can be used at any point over a period of three months.
"We really think that a Wi-Fi only tablet is good, but it is not good enough," said AT&T senior VP Chris Penrose at the GigaOm Mobilize conference. Costs of integrating cellular capabilities into tablets have fallen, said Penrose, so there's little excuse for manufacturers not to be including the option. "Ultimately we’d like to see tablet manufacturers build just one tablet.” Of course, that's exactly what you'd expect to hear from a wireless carrier executive.