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Report: Microsoft Surface Tablets to Be Wi-Fi-only at First

By - Source: Bloomberg | B 25 comments

Microsoft's Surface tablets will initially only have Wi-Fi connectivity when they launch later this year.

When Microsoft announced its Surface tablets earlier this week, it kept quiet about the finer details of these tablets. Sure, we know that the Windows RT model will run on an ARM processor and the Pro version will pack Intel's Core i series of processors, but Microsoft didn't reveal important details such as RAM or connectivity (or pricing, for that matter).

Today, the rumor mill is churning out reports that the Surface tablets will be Wi-Fi only when they launch. Bloomberg cites two people familiar with the matter who say Microsoft's iPad rival will launch without 3G or 4G LTE connectivity. The news outlet goes on to cite one analyst who says this might present an issue for marketing, as Microsoft on Monday touted the device as an ultra-mobile device suitable for working on the go.

Marketing efforts aside, Microsoft is aiming for business professionals with the Surface Pro, and business people might take issue with the fact that using the device on the go will rely on having a Wi-Fi network close by. Those with devices like the iPad or the Galaxy Tab might not mind Wi-Fi-only (indeed, the lack of a data contract is a plus for many), but Microsoft's Surface, with its high-end specs, a full version of Windows, and Microsoft Office, is designed less for the casual user and more for the constantly-moving professional.

The important thing to note here is that Bloomberg's sources say the Surface will initially go on sale without data connectivity. Whether this means one or both models will ship without it, or that Microsoft plans to release 3G models not too long after the initial launch, remains to be seen. However, what is clear is that Microsoft apparently does have intentions for a 3G version, so it won't be missing in the 3G tablet market for long.

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  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , June 23, 2012 7:22 PM
    This article is pure speculation. MS has not released specs and has kept reviewers of the device at a distance (meaning the final product is not done).
  • 1 Hide
    BringMeAnother , June 23, 2012 7:43 PM
    I've read from digg that the Windows 8 version might be $999. While I've been waiting for a Windows tablet for a long while, I might skip the first generation unless the reviews are really good. I'm looking to replace my laptop completely, but $999 is still pretty steep.
  • 1 Hide
    worleyeoe , June 23, 2012 8:23 PM
    Personally, I think the pricing hold back and subsequent rumors are meant to provide a pleasant surprise when the devices are released. $599 for the WinRT version would be a disaster. Even with the great value offered by the integrated case / keyboard / trackpad and Office, $499 would be pushing it. The Samsung GT2 can be had for $399. $50 for Office and $49 for the case / input device at most. People, this is just a 10.6" screen. It's not a full laptop replacement for most people. As for Pro, $999 wouldn't be bad if the screen was increased to ~12". And for goodness sake, MS, please offer a Clover Trail version at launch. It will have much better batter life and won't give up much in terms of power and performance.
  • Display all 25 comments.
  • 2 Hide
    ojas , June 23, 2012 8:49 PM
    yachtmanThis article is pure speculation. MS has not released specs and has kept reviewers of the device at a distance (meaning the final product is not done).

    wrong. they have.

    http://www.microsoft.com/global/surface/en/us/renderingassets/surfacespecsheet.pdf

    That's on their website, btw. surface.com.
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , June 23, 2012 8:59 PM
    What I hope happens here is that this new Microsoft Tablet is a grand success! The fact is, Apple has dominated in the phone and tablet market for far too long, and true competition has been scarce. I would love to see all three players fighting equally neck to neck for market share (i.e. Android, Apple, and Microsoft). For a long time now I’ve witnessed Apple dictate what we as consumers should want in a phone and/or tablet device and they have not really listened to any of their consumer complaints or consumer hardware feature-desires (nor did they have to). It may be that if Microsoft wins big on this, all three players will work again aggressively to dominate within this new tech area and they’ll all start to listen to their consumer base and add the hardware technical features that we as consumers want.

    As an iPad owner (first generation) I’ve wanted an SD slot on my iPad, and also a USB Port, but Apple has dictated I neither need these nor do I really want these features, and hence I’m merely a confused consumer. However, with Microsoft now jumping into the ring (with these very features) and if they survive the initial first rounds, I’ll be willing to bet we see a change in Apple’s attitude and new competitive hardware features added to Apple products in the future. I also hope Android takes-off and brings out a few innovative surprises as well, as this will only add fuel to the fire and bring whole new levels of unique innovation into the mix. Competition is great, and is the very foundation of Capitalism (which I love) so let’s all hope all three survive and last into the coming decade!
  • -6 Hide
    wheredahoodat , June 23, 2012 9:23 PM
    DOA
  • 1 Hide
    DRosencraft , June 23, 2012 9:24 PM
    ojaswrong. they have.http://www.microsoft.com/global/su [...] csheet.pdfThat's on their website, btw. surface.com.


    To yachtman's point, that's not a spec sheet, not a full one anyway. Those may be important details, but that's far from a complete picture of the final device. No mention of the specific processor, amount of RAM, type of graphics, that's really just a very bare list of features they've given, and, as the article indicates, there is no mention of the form of connectivity involved. I don't know whether the design is finished yet or not, but it would seem to me they still have a little time to add 3G or 4G if they want.

    I expect that any delay in 3G or 4G options will have more to do with them trying to pick a carrier and work out the pricing on that end. MSFT hasn't been in this business before, so they don't have a norm to jump to, so they have to be careful, although the idea of selling a non 3G or 4G model only to sell one that has it a little later would probably be a bad idea.
  • 6 Hide
    balister , June 23, 2012 9:27 PM
    Why would anyone buy a tablet with wireless when WiFi is so ubquitos?

    MartaanAs an Apple fan watching all the hype and reactions surrounding this tablet I really have to give it to Microsoft fans, they are a very optimistic bunch. I mean you folks are willing to take anything from Microsoft. Wow God bless you, the world needs more people like you.


    Considering how Apple treats its customers, you have little, if any, room to talk.
  • 0 Hide
    CaedenV , June 23, 2012 9:47 PM
    I'm still trying to figure out why 3G and 4G are 'needed' for the average user. Yes, the road warior, or the in-home business person could use it, but I am having a hard time trying to think of a place I go that does not have free wifi...
    work, restaurants, church, coffee shops, several local businesses, anywhere down town (we have a free wireless network down town provided by the city), my home, all of my friend's homes... Really, other than while on the road (where I still have to drive until Google get's their car sorted out) there is no place I go that is not wifi capable. I only see this being a problem for a few power business users.
  • 3 Hide
    house70 , June 23, 2012 9:56 PM
    MartaanAs an Apple fan watching all the hype and reactions surrounding this tablet I really have to give it to Microsoft fans, they are a very optimistic bunch. I mean you folks are willing to take anything from Microsoft. Wow God bless you, the world needs more people like you.

    Look, the pot is calling the kettle black!
  • 0 Hide
    killerclick , June 23, 2012 10:31 PM
    The Surface Pro is too thick and heavy to be a good tablet, and too tiny-screened and underpowered to be a productivity laptop.

    Plus it's not really a laptop if you can't use the keyboard on your lap, and with that kickstand it's going to be tricky. If you need furniture to use the dedicated keyboard, this pretty much fails as an ultraportable laptop.
  • 0 Hide
    Shin-san , June 23, 2012 10:40 PM
    killerclickThe Surface Pro is too thick and heavy to be a good tablet, and too tiny-screened and underpowered to be a productivity laptop.Plus it's not really a laptop if you can't use the keyboard on your lap, and with that kickstand it's going to be tricky. If you need furniture to use the dedicated keyboard, this pretty much fails as an ultraportable laptop.
    Some laptops would actually burn your lap.
  • 1 Hide
    freggo , June 24, 2012 12:20 AM
    hastenWho'd a guessed this would come from someone with one post! Troll away from the comfort of you mom's basement. Remember lotion prevents chaffing, that'll be very important for the rest of your life.


    Oh come on; let's all be nice now!
    Just because he . . . oh, no . . . I am not going down that road :-)
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 24, 2012 12:21 AM
    i personally prefer a wifi only version, especially if its cheaper. data plans are absurd in canada. im a student and almost everywhere i usually go has a wifi connection, be it school or a coffee shop. in my case a tablet with a data connection is totally overkill.
  • 0 Hide
    mataglap , June 24, 2012 1:05 AM
    killerclickThe Surface Pro is too thick and heavy to be a good tablet, and too tiny-screened and underpowered to be a productivity laptop.Plus it's not really a laptop if you can't use the keyboard on your lap, and with that kickstand it's going to be tricky. If you need furniture to use the dedicated keyboard, this pretty much fails as an ultraportable laptop.


    Actually you can use this on your lap pretty easily. Please see this review

    Also they are pleanty powerful unless you except it to be a full on gaming replacement or act as a server which would just be silly. I have gotten to play with Win 8 Pro on an older tablet, it have an i5 core, and it was pleanty quick for every day applications like VS 2012 which was running on it.
  • -1 Hide
    mataglap , June 24, 2012 1:07 AM
    Grrr, this review:

  • 1 Hide
    mataglap , June 24, 2012 1:11 AM
    *sigh* one last try "Hands on: Microsoft Surface tablet review" http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/tablets/microsoft-surface-tablet-1085839/review. Sorry if this doesn't work is the "wrong" way to do it.
  • 2 Hide
    jj463rd , June 24, 2012 5:38 AM
    Well as long as it has Windows 8 on it and a USB port there should be no problem with a WiMAX 4G external USB dongle.
  • 0 Hide
    gnodeb , June 24, 2012 12:34 PM
    indoor you have wifi, outdoor you have hot-spot on your mobile... still, you have USB...
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