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

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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  • Anonymous
    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).
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  • BringMeAnother
    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.
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  • worleyeoe
    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.
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