Microsoft Surface Tablet Set for Wi-Fi Only?

(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – If you’re considering buying Microsoft’s new Surface tablet when it arrives sometime in the fall, here’s one possible consideration: A Thursday report by Bloomberg cited sources who indicated that initial releases of the tablet could be Wi-Fi only.

Of course, if true, that key feature could change with later releases of the highly-anticipated device.

Microsoft unveiled its Surface tablet on Monday. Differing versions of the device will feature upcoming releases of Microsoft’s metro-styled operating systems Windows 8 and Windows RT. The tablet features a “kickstand,” allowing the user to prop it up with relative ease. Another key feature provides a light in weight cover that multitasks as a keyboard, attaching to the tablet magnetically.

The inclusion of “Wi-Fi only” would limit wireless Internet connectivity choices for consumers. For example, cellular connections including those provided with LTE would not be available.

Industry analyst Ben Bajarin emphasized to Bloomberg that including the Wi-Fi only feature could help the popular Windows maker keep things cost efficient. However, Bajarin did point out a downside in the possible plan. “The way that Microsoft is positioning this product — that it’s highly mobile but also has the functionality of a notebook — that customer might be more interested in working from any location and not being bound by Wi-Fi,” commented Bajarin the Bloomberg report.

It’s notable that Wi-Fi only devices aren’t drastically different than what’s already offered through the market. Microsoft competitor Apple currently offers a version of its iPad tablet featuring Wi-Fi only connectivity. Besides that, Wi-Fi remains an increasingly potent connectivity platform.

A report earlier this week from quoted Acer founder Stan Shih as speculating Microsoft’s tablet strategy could merely be temporary. “Microsoft hopes that marketing its own-brand tablet PCs will encourage vendors to offer Windows 8 tablet PCs and thereby help expand market demand for the product line,” Shih was reported as saying. Once that goal was realized, Shih said Microsoft would likely cut off production. That analysis is simply speculation and Microsoft’s strategy could be much more long-term.

The Windows maker has traditionally stuck to the production of software-only. It’s entrance into the hardware arena marks something quite different for the company. Microsoft will later announce the device’s market release date along with pricing.