By Stephen Schenck | June 22, 2012 12:19 PM
It’s hard not to come away from Microsoft’s Surface tablet announcement earlier this week with a sense of admiration for how the company appears to have deftly straddled the tablet/laptop distinction by means of some innovative hardware choices. For as great as the models look, you may have found yourself wondering just what Microsoft has in mind for Surface when it comes to connectivity. According to a couple sources, the tablet could arrive as a WiFi-only edition, with no cellular option initially available. Will that end up hurting its reception among heavily mobile users?
News of a WiFi-only Surface is hardly surprising. Microsoft’s venturing into uncharted waters as it prepares to release Surface models under its own banner, so it’s going to want things to go as smoothly as possible. Offering Surface with embedded cellular modems could start making things complicated quickly, as the company would then be dealing with any number of cellular providers and their own distribution channels. Furthermore, it sounds like Surface is already leaning towards the expensive side of things, and 4G could only help add to those costs.
None of this discounts the possibility for future cellular-enabled Surface models, and that sounds like a much easier proposition to swallow. We also shouldn’t forget that these tablet feature full-sized USB ports; users may end up just plugging-in external USB cellular modems, or even end up using their smartphones to tether over WiFi. Those aren’t the most graceful solutions in the world, but they should do in a pinch.
Would you hold-off on buying a Surface tablet until it was available with some kind of integrated cellular data, or is this really a non-issue?