Microsoft generated a ton of positive buzz in the tech world at the start of the week with the unveiling of its new Surface tablet computer, but the week is ending with more of a thud.
The first version of the new Microsoft tablets won’t have an option for mobile broadband connections, according to a report by Bloomberg News, citing two people familiar with undisclosed aspects of the Surface specs.
This wouldn’t be a huge surprise. At the unveiling earlier this week in Los Angeles, company representatives declined to say whether mobile broadband would be included in the tablet.
The other big question is price, which Microsoft also hasn’t discussed. A report by Digitimes quotes unnamed sources saying that the version of Surface based on ARM chips, running Windows RT, will cost at least $599. That’s the same price as a 32 GB WiFi Pad, which is consistent with Microsoft’s comment that ARM version of Surface will be priced comparably with other ARM tablets. However, Apple also offers a 16GB WiFi version for $499.
The Next Web reports that the version of Surface running Windows 8 Pro, on Intel chips, will cost as much as $999.
But there is a certain segment of potential buyers that will want the option, at least, for mobile broadband. Considering that it’s attempting to come from behind in the tablet market, the absence of that option would be an extra challenge for Microsoft as it releases the new Surface devices.