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Rumor: First Microsoft Surface tablet units to be Wi-Fi only

Details 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.

Surface WiFi

Source: Microsoft


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.