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 unless you have all Apple gear.

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 today 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. But very few carriers support it, requiring the use of their own SIM cards instead.