Thursday, June 21, 2012, 06:23 pm PT (09:23 pm ET)
Rumor: First Microsoft Surface tablet units to be Wi-Fi onlyDetails regarding the final specs of Microsoft's Surface tablet have been scarce since the device was announced on Monday but it was revealed on Thursday that the first units to be sold will only be equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity.
Two unnamed sources close to the project told Bloomberg that Microsoft will initially be equipping the upcoming Windows 8 Surface tablet with short-range Wi-Fi only in lieu of mobile wireless capabilities that are expected to arrive later.
The full specifications of the tablet have not been disclosed as the Redmond-based company painted in broad strokes when it came to describing the device's internals, and glossed over internet connectivity completely. When Surface was demoed on stage, Windows chief Steven Sinofsky attempted to browse the web with Internet Explorer but had trouble with software and never got past Bing's splash screen. The issue seemed to be related to the device's software which quickly froze or crashed seconds later, forcing Sinofsky to transfer to a different tablet.
It is unclear why Microsoft would forego wireless connectivity in a product that is unabashedly going toe-to-toe with Apple's iPad which shipped with a 3G option in 2010 and now boasts 4G LTE in the new Retina Display-equipped model.
As seen in the press photo below, Windows 8's homepage prominently features a number of apps that require internet connectivity to function, including the constantly-updated "Live Tiles" that give users quick access to small bits of information from weather feeds, Xbox Live and more. These services would be all but unavailable to users on the go who are most likely to employ a tablet.
According to the sources, Microsoft has contracted with Apple iPhone manufacturer Pegatron to build Surface and will launch the device this fall alongside Windows 8.
On Topic: General
- Apple's display tech lets users interact with 3D objects in mid-air
- Judge denies Apple motion to stay upcoming e-books damages trial
- Apple 'on the prowl' with 24 acquisitions in last year and a half
- Google agreed to pick up tab for some Samsung legal fees, take on liability in case of loss
- Lytro's next-gen $1500 Illum 'light-field' camera bolstered by dedicated Mac software, Aperture support