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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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  • 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).
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • ojas
    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.
    Reply
  • 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!
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  • As 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.
    Reply
  • wheredahoodat
    DOA
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  • DRosencraft
    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.
    Reply
  • balister
    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.
    Reply
  • CaedenV
    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.
    Reply