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

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
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.
post #2 of 52
Im sure that WiFi is the most common iPad sold and even Apple had a 1 month delay between WiFi and cellular for the original iPad (throwing MS a big bone there) but they better get the features they do offer to be excellent or they shouldn't even bother.

I feel like they've noticed that Apple doesn't enter a market with every feature possible but they don't seem to have noticed what Apple gets right they really get right. If you're going to have an event that demos the device then you should make sure the device is demoable with the working accessories that you're also demoing.

And what about time frame and cost? The first ARM-based surface to be out in 3 months with the x86 version 3 months after that which is pretty damn close to the next iPad release time? And pricing was stated to be inline with ultrabooks which means it's well above the iPad's price? Hopefully that was to mean the x86 version and not the ARM version with a $200 less expensive CPU.

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post #3 of 52

APPLE IS DOOM!

 

This is a thing of beauty.

 

I want to sleep with it by my side.

 

I want to feed it ice cream, especially the big heavy cover.

post #4 of 52

How does Microsoft have this major partnership with Nokia and their own Microsoft-branded tablet doesn't have 3G/4G support in the first release?
 

Microsoft should just up and buy Nokia.

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post #5 of 52

Oh Noooooo,

 

It's the BLUE KEYBOARD OF DEATH!!!!!!

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post #6 of 52

WiFi?

 

I guess Google will step in to seek to ban them from sale in the USA, via FRAND patents held by their subsidiary.

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post #7 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I feel like they've noticed that Apple doesn't enter a market with every feature possible but they don't seem to have noticed what Apple gets right they really get right. If you're going to have an event that demos the device then you should make sure the device is demoable with the working accessories that you're also demoing.
And what about time frame and cost? The first ARM-based surface to be out in 3 months with the x86 version 3 months after that which is pretty damn close to the next iPad release time? And pricing was stated to be inline with ultrabooks which means it's well above the iPad's price? Hopefully that was to mean the x86 version and not the ARM version with a $200 less expensive CPU.

 

Apple's hardware is demoable because it's usually shipping today.

Plus Apple rehearses their dog and pony shows.

 

I'm not convinced that Windows has changed its spots. It's still Windows.

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post #8 of 52
Seriously? If true this is about as dumb as the can get.
post #9 of 52

I know this is going to sound like just a slam on MS, or pure Apple fanboy-ism, or what have you.  But I really don't mean it that way.

 

That thing looks like a Fisher Price toy.  It really does.  I guess I'm just not the demographic.

post #10 of 52

The keyboard cover is a brilliant take on Apple's folding screen. I want one for my new iPad.How long will it be until an enterprising company puts out an iPad version. Probably before we'll get a real Surface that you can buy . . .

post #11 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by pe8er8 View Post

The keyboard cover is a brilliant take on Apple's folding screen. I want one for my new iPad.How long will it be until an enterprising company puts out an iPad version. Probably before we'll get a real Surface that you can buy . . .

It's been done, long ago.

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post #12 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

How does Microsoft have this major partnership with Nokia and their own Microsoft-branded tablet doesn't have 3G/4G support in the first release?
 

Microsoft should just up and buy Nokia.

 

Why? Microsoft already makes made phones!

 

Microsoft Kin One and Two

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post #13 of 52
A keyboard with a solid click and WiFi only is the complete re-imagining of tablet portability - Microsoft cannot be stopped!

329
post #14 of 52
Microsoft has keyboards, Apple dictation; I'm wondering what will be more useful down the line...

(this post was dictated faster than I could type it)
post #15 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

 

Apple's hardware is demoable because it's usually shipping today.

Plus Apple rehearses their dog and pony shows.

 

I'm not convinced that Windows has changed its spots. It's still Windows.


Yes, and its being "still Windows" is exactly why the x86 variant is a win.  However, I think the ARM version will be a fail.

post #16 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by johndoe98 View Post

Microsoft has keyboards, Apple dictation; I'm wondering what will be more useful down the line...
(this post was dictated faster than I could type it)


One way trips with dictation are fine.  Editing large text is not, and it is a privacy/secrecy/noise pollution issue, too.

post #17 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by kustardking View Post


One way trips with dictation are fine.  Editing large text is not, and it is a privacy/secrecy/noise pollution issue, too.

I wouldn't want to edit large text on an ipad or surface anyway.
post #18 of 52

I would surmise they just haven't quite figured out how to optimize battery efficiency after including 4G cell radio.

 

I recall the Q&A with Steve Ballmer at D8, and someone asked about improving the battery on windows products (laptops), b/c the 10 hours on the iPad was a huge competitive advantage, and will those products come soon?  Ballmer was emphatic when he said "yes".  Can't release a product that calls out this exchange.     

post #19 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by johndoe98 View Post


I wouldn't want to edit large text on an ipad or surface anyway.

 

If you think of the surface as a tablet, sure, but it has a keyboard and an OS compatible with 99% of the software out there that matters.  And that's the thing, the Surface isn't a tablet, it a modular computer.

 

EDIT: I'm talking about the x86, I have no faith in the ARM version.

post #20 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by kustardking View Post

If you think of the surface as a tablet, sure, but it has a keyboard and an OS compatible with 99% of the software out there that matters.  And that's the thing, the Surface isn't a tablet, it a modular computer.

EDIT: I'm talking about the x86, I have no faith in the ARM version.

Well the surface might work well is against the netbook market but I don't think it'll be very good as a workstation. But let's wait and see.
post #21 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by pe8er8 View Post

The keyboard cover is a brilliant take on Apple's folding screen. I want one for my new iPad.How long will it be until an enterprising company puts out an iPad version. Probably before we'll get a real Surface that you can buy . . .

 

 

You cannot use a trackpad with iOS.  Keyboards with no pointing device are already available for the iPad - have been since day 1.

post #22 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronJ View Post

That thing looks like a Fisher Price toy.  It really does.  I guess I'm just not the demographic.

 

No, no, no... XP was the Fisher-Price release!  This, to my eyes, looks more like Duplo territory.

post #23 of 52

Before you all say this is a bad idea, consider that the majority of iPads sold out there are Wi-Fi only. Both AT&T and Verizon offer 4G data connectivity devices that work through the USB port, so if you still insist on cellular data connectivity, you just connect such a device to the Surface's USB port.

post #24 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by SactoMan01 View Post

Both AT&T and Verizon offer 4G data connectivity devices that work through the USB port, so if you still insist on cellular data connectivity, you just connect such a device to the Surface's USB port.

I question this on the Surface running Win7 RT. First of all, none of the current drivers for Windows will work on it because it's an ARM CPU, not x86, so will there be drivers for all of them when it launches? Secondly, if all apps for Win RT have to go through the MS app store is it even possible to install outside drivers?

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post #25 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by johndoe98 View Post


Well the surface might work well is against the netbook market but I don't think it'll be very good as a workstation. But let's wait and see.

 

haha - netbook, right, nice try at a dis!  There's a big gradient between netbooks and workstations.  The Air, for example, sits towards the middle, which is the same spot that the Surface will, well, surface.  There is no question that the Surface is an ugly machine, but the promise is being an iPad in form, and a real computer in function.  Don't lose yourself in anti-PC baggage.

post #26 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by kustardking View Post

 

haha - netbook, right, nice try at a dis!  There's a big gradient between netbooks and workstations.  The Air, for example, sits towards the middle, which is the same spot that the Surface will, well, surface.  There is no question that the Surface is an ugly machine, but the promise is being an iPad in form, and a real computer in function.  Don't lose yourself in anti-PC baggage.

 

I have no anti anything right now and my comment wasn't meant as a dis, that's why I said "let's wait and see". I haven't seen the product. So when I used the term netbook I just meant very small very limited computer. And by workstation, I meant where people do their primary work, whether it be a laptop or desktop. But now you've given us a better sense of what you think the surface will compete against, i.e. the Air.

 

Seems to me there might be some lure to students on a tight budget, or maybe even to people to have as a secondary travel machine, which would make it a very niche product. I couldn't imagine working on one of those all day though, especially since the kickstand gives you pretty much one position you can view it in, and it won't work on your lap, which is in part why I said I wouldn't want to edit large text on such a device. I'd never want such a thing as my workstation or netbook. But who knows, maybe it'll appeal to others. Recall the comment you responded to was my speaking from my perspective. I wasn't talking about its appeal or utility to others.

 

So, I'm skeptical as to how well this will fit the space between the iPad and MacBook, or tablet and workstation. I do worry for most people interested in tablets, much of the Pro Surface will be useless and never taken advantage of. I don't see it as becoming a huge success. For people interested in a small, versatile, mobile workstations, again it doesn't seem very practical, even though it adds in tablet functionality. As for the RT, I'm curious to see what kind of battery life and functionality it will achieve. 31.5 Watts seems very low and I fear it might be seriously outclassed by the iPad that will be in its price range. I worry about the timing of its release too, as I wouldn't want the next iPad to take away its steam. It wouldn't surprise me if Apple released the 13" Retina MBP as the Pro Surface came out. Would be a really good time to kill its buzz.


Edited by johndoe98 - 6/21/12 at 11:08pm
post #27 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


I question this on the Surface running Win7 RT. First of all, none of the current drivers for Windows will work on it because it's an ARM CPU, not x86, so will there be drivers for all of them when it launches? Secondly, if all apps for Win RT have to go through the MS app store is it even possible to install outside drivers?

Windows 8 supports class drivers so that new drivers don't need to be written for each hardware device, much like keyboards and mice support the USB HID protocol: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/01/20/engineering-windows-8-for-mobility.aspx

post #28 of 52

Also don't forget the surface tablets have a usb port, so you can just plug in a 3g dongle (which most companies use anyway for their current laptops). Companies who would consider the surface as a laptop replacement (as we would be), are only looking at the pro edition, so driver support is a non-issue. As these tablets are in fact compatible with everything current laptops are compatible with (domain login, group policy, largest "app store" in the world ;)

post #29 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronJ View Post

I know this is going to sound like just a slam on MS, or pure Apple fanboy-ism, or what have you.  But I really don't mean it that way.

 

That thing looks like a Fisher Price toy.  It really does.  I guess I'm just not the demographic.


True. I want one for my Mom and one for my younger sister.

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post #30 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by johndoe98 View Post

Microsoft has keyboards, Apple dictation; I'm wondering what will be more useful down the line...
(this post was dictated faster than I could type it)


I can type faster than you can dictate, provided there is no Apple-autocorruption enabled ^^

 

Besides, I don't find the Surface ugly, I'd go as far as to say if it had an Apple on it, many people here would praise the design.

I think Surface is kind of cute, fits right in a school/children environment, and if/when it's cheap enough I'd like one for my kids to learn programming... I'm pretty sure waiting a few years will make it super-cheap on eBay ^^

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post #31 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by lightknight View Post


I can type faster than you can dictate, provided there is no Apple-autocorruption enabled ^^

 

Besides, I don't find the Surface ugly, I'd go as far as to say if it had an Apple on it, many people here would praise the design.

I think Surface is kind of cute, fits right in a school/children environment, and if/when it's cheap enough I'd like one for my kids to learn programming... I'm pretty sure waiting a few years will make it super-cheap on eBay ^^

Jony Ive would quit, or already be dead before a design like this ever came out of his studio!

Good thing you didn't say "bet" in that statement... I'd take it "all-in" in a heartbeat!

You know absolutely nothing about design or designers... that I can tell.

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post #32 of 52

I think that RIM also decided to launch a Wifi only version of their Playbook. We all know how much of a steamy pile that entire situation became. I think I'm smelling it again.

post #33 of 52

Doesn't matter if you use Wifi or 3G/4G or not. The idea that the machine is crippled in some way is all that is needed to get negative reviews and a bad rap. Lots of examples down that road, and MS can't afford to have one hiccup if they any chance in hell of making this a success.

post #34 of 52

The initial models will have a CTRL/ALT/DEL key and a stylus as well.

post #35 of 52

fail.

post #36 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by johndoe98 View Post

Well the surface might work well is against the netbook market but I don't think it'll be very good as a workstation. But let's wait and see.

It also wouldn't be very good as a space shuttle, scalpel, or cultivator.

Who in the world would ever try to compare it to a workstation? That makes about as much sense.
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post #37 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by johndoe98 View Post

 

I have no anti anything right now and my comment wasn't meant as a dis, that's why I said "let's wait and see". I haven't seen the product. So when I used the term netbook I just meant very small very limited computer. And by workstation, I meant where people do their primary work, whether it be a laptop or desktop. But now you've given us a better sense of what you think the surface will compete against, i.e. the Air.

 

Seems to me there might be some lure to students on a tight budget, or maybe even to people to have as a secondary travel machine, which would make it a very niche product. I couldn't imagine working on one of those all day though, especially since the kickstand gives you pretty much one position you can view it in, and it won't work on your lap, which is in part why I said I wouldn't want to edit large text on such a device. I'd never want such a thing as my workstation or netbook. But who knows, maybe it'll appeal to others. Recall the comment you responded to was my speaking from my perspective. I wasn't talking about its appeal or utility to others.

 

So, I'm skeptical as to how well this will fit the space between the iPad and MacBook, or tablet and workstation. I do worry for most people interested in tablets, much of the Pro Surface will be useless and never taken advantage of. I don't see it as becoming a huge success. For people interested in a small, versatile, mobile workstations, again it doesn't seem very practical, even though it adds in tablet functionality. As for the RT, I'm curious to see what kind of battery life and functionality it will achieve. 31.5 Watts seems very low and I fear it might be seriously outclassed by the iPad that will be in its price range. I worry about the timing of its release too, as I wouldn't want the next iPad to take away its steam. It wouldn't surprise me if Apple released the 13" Retina MBP as the Pro Surface came out. Would be a really good time to kill its buzz.


Just an FYI, you're very passive-aggressive.

post #38 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by TallistDah View Post

The initial models will have a CTRL/ALT/DEL key and a stylus as well.

 

The new key combo (so you can use it to criticize Microsoft) is Windows + Power.  So yes while Ctrl + Alt + Del will work, so will the the power button and windows button.  They did this change for tablets without a keyboard, for example the surface without the keyboard attached.  That being said I never use it.

 

Stylus is only an option for the Pro.  Metro does not require a stylus, and even the desktop is much more touch friendly.

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post #39 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Im sure that WiFi is the most common iPad sold and even Apple had a 1 month delay between WiFi and cellular for the original iPad (throwing MS a big bone there) but they better get the features they do offer to be excellent or they shouldn't even bother.

 

True on the most common and yes there was a delay (although some of that was likely due to the need to get the FCC to approve the model and they may have put in that delay to give more time for that process). 

 

That said, Microsoft would have pulled a coup if they had made only wifi+cellular and been able to sell them at the same pricing as the iPad wifi only models (or say only $30-50 more). Particularly if it was on the same pay as you go as the iPad plans. folks on the fence might have been swayed by the fact that they could have that option for less additional cost. 

 

At the least given that there is as much as a 6 month delay before we see any Surface units it seems silly that they aren't doing both forms together. At least for the "Pro" model. Or do the wifi only on the ARM one and the wifi+cell on the "Pro" since that's the folks that are likely to want it. 

 

(And yes I believe at some point the iPad will trim down to one lineup which will be wifi+cell with perhaps the single low storage wifi only for the students, kiddies etc)

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post #40 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronJ View Post

I know this is going to sound like just a slam on MS, or pure Apple fanboy-ism, or what have you.  But I really don't mean it that way.

 

That thing looks like a Fisher Price toy.  It really does.  I guess I'm just not the demographic.

 

Well they wanted to make the most UN iOS looking UI they could and they succeeded. Some folks will probably like the simple look. My issue with it looking like a toy is the colored keyboards. Until then I was okay but that really toys it up to me. 

 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by JerrySwitched26 View Post

You cannot use a trackpad with iOS.  Keyboards with no pointing device are already available for the iPad - have been since day 1.

 

When the entire item is a trackpad why do you need to add one on. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SactoMan01 View Post

Before you all say this is a bad idea, consider that the majority of iPads sold out there are Wi-Fi only. Both AT&T and Verizon offer 4G data connectivity devices that work through the USB port, so if you still insist on cellular data connectivity, you just connect such a device to the Surface's USB port.

 

And have to carry an extra piece. No thanks. I'd rather spend $130 to have that function in my device than the same (or some monthly rental charge) to have something I could leave in a hotel room. I suspect many others are the same. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmvsm View Post

I think that RIM also decided to launch a Wifi only version of their Playbook. We all know how much of a steamy pile that entire situation became. I think I'm smelling it again.

 

the issue with the Playbook wasn't that it was wifi only. It was that it sucked and they pulled stupid moves like you couldn't read your email on it because there was no app for that. All you could do was mirror your blackberry email to it. 


Edited by charlituna - 6/22/12 at 8:29am

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