Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg claims that the tablet will be WIFi-only at first, as Microsoft looks to avoid the premium associated with 3G or 4G internet connectivity.
Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin agrees that the move could help Microsoft to keep costs down – a crucial factor if the Surface is to compete with the iPad – but has warned that the lack of 3G could become a problem in future for the Redmond giant.
“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,” said Bajarin.
Meanwhile, other worrying news came on the Surface’s battery life, with Computerworld estimating that the tablet’s battery will only be able to last for a meagre 7.5 hours at one time, a figure which is someway short of the ten hours offered by Apple’s iPad.
With the Surface set to debut later this year, Microsoft clearly faces a challenge not only in keeping its tablet OEM partners happy while promoting the Surface, but also in driving consumers to the new tablet.
Indeed, a recent report from CouponCodes4u revealed earlier this week that most tablet-owning Americans plan to shun Microsoft's Windows 8 tablet in favor of their iPad and Android tablets.
The poll tracked 1,578 Americans from the ages of 21 to 35, and found that 58% of these respondents owned a tablet. Of this figure, 55% said that they had an iPad, with Android (23%) and RIM's PlayBook (12%) back in second and third place.
Among these tablet-owning American consumers, more than half (59%) said that they would not be switching to the Microsoft Surface. Approximately 41% said that they wouldn’t switch because of brand loyalty, while 15% would not be purchasing the product because they didn’t yet know enough about the tablet.
However, the results were far more interesting when the same questions were asked of respondents who did not yet have a tablet. When asked what tablet they would buy going forward, 41% said an iPad and 28% said an Android tablet, with a more than reasonable 22% opting for the Microsoft Surface.