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  1. Koltrane's Avatar
    A friend was extremely excited about the Surface tablet and was prepared to preorder one. The only thing holding him back was he had seen no information regarding cellular connectivity. He e-mailed MS and here was the response:



    From: Microsoft Store Support [mailto:XXXXXXXX]
    Sent: Friday, October 19, 2012 12:31 PM
    To: XXXXXXXXX
    Subject: RE: SRX1185945955ID - Microsoft Store

    Thank you for taking the time to email us at the Microsoft Store. I understand the importance of understanding our new products. I appreciate the opportunity to assist you.

    At this time we have no plans to release a version with 3G/4G capabilities.

    I am pleased that you have contacted us for assistance. You can also reach us by phone at 1-877-MY-MS-STORE (696-7786) Monday-Friday, 8am-1am EST; 12pm-8pm EST on weekends.

    Kyle P.
    Microsoft Store Email Support


    Many may yawn and say, "no big deal!", but to completely eschew a cellular option for a tablet offering is not a smart move. I imagine there are many people for whom lack of 3G/4G connection will be a dealbreaker. Laptop users are used to the lack of cellular options...tablet users not so much.

    I am really rooting for MS and the Surface devices to be strong and have coattails that will bring Windows 8 Phone to the fore, but I think this is a crucial mistake.

    Any thoughts?
    10-19-2012 03:38 PM
  2. GB330033's Avatar
    In their Reddit AMA, the Surface team said they looked at some iPad statistics that said that 2/3 of iPads are bought WiFi only, and then of the 1/3 that are bought for use on a cell network only 1/2 are actually activated w/ a data plan.

    Now, I have no idea how accurate those numbers are or where the team got them from, but if those are true then it makes sense to not offer a version with cell connectivity in the first generation. For Surface 2, on the other hand, I imagine that option will be there.
    10-19-2012 03:44 PM
  3. 12Danny123's Avatar
    not really. 4G/3G just makes it more expensive
    10-19-2012 03:44 PM
  4. jdevenberg's Avatar
    MS addressed this in their Reddit AMA with the Surface developers. 2/3 of all tablets purchaced by consumers are WiFi only. 1/3 have a cellular radio built in. Of that 1/3 only half are ever actually activated. This would lead some to believe that a sizable portion of the 1/3 who buy a cellular equiped tablet do so due to shortages of the WiFi only variant (I'm looking at you iPad) or the tablet they want is available only in a cellular variaty (like the excellent Samsung Galaxy Tabl 8.9, only on Verizon in the US). So it stands to reason further, that of the 1/6 of consumers who activate a cellular data connection on their tablet, at least a small portion of those only due so because they were forced into paying extra to have the radio, so they figure they may as well use it.

    To summerize, less than 1/6 of tablet buyers would deem cellular conncetivity a must have, MS wants this to be a mass market device, so they are targeting the 5/6+ of the market who doesn't care/doesn't want cellular data built in.
    10-19-2012 03:45 PM
  5. palandri's Avatar
    not really. 4G/3G just makes it more expensive
    That's true, but I think the option should be there. Maybe Microsoft will realize that after their 1st batch and add it to the next batch. Who knows. :D
    10-19-2012 03:48 PM
  6. 12Danny123's Avatar
    That's true, but I think the option should be there. Maybe Microsoft will realize that after their 1st batch and add it to the next batch. Who knows. :D
    I think they just wanna just wait until 4G is used most. but at the moment it's not used by a lot of people on Tablets
    10-19-2012 03:51 PM
  7. feedmylittletroll's Avatar
    It does have a USB 2.0 which should allow cellular connectivity through a 3g/4g USB data stick.
    10-19-2012 03:53 PM
  8. 12Danny123's Avatar
    It does have a USB 2.0 which should allow cellular connectivity through a 3g/4g USB data stick.
    Yes!!. true for that
    10-19-2012 03:54 PM
  9. Vheissu's Avatar
    I think first off more than anything MSFT didn't want to (like Apple tries to avoid) have a bunch of different SKUs and have to start dealing with carriers for this, WIFI is universal so they have 2 SKUs and can just hammer them out because the only difference in them is the storage. As you've seen they are already back ordered just from the pre-orders The other thing is the rumors of a Nokia tablet maybe they decided to just leave the cellular connected tablet to Nokia. I'm personally believe it's the first reason.
    12Danny123 likes this.
    10-19-2012 04:30 PM
  10. anon(5335899)'s Avatar
    It's trivial really, flip tethering on on your phone and your set.
    10-19-2012 04:51 PM
  11. Coreldan's Avatar
    I understand why someone would mind this, but personally it has no effect on me. I'm not gonna get another contract for a tablet anyways.

    Luckily there will be options with cellular data, but naturally they wont be Surface, which too I understand can be a big deal, cos Surface's sexyness is over 9000 of any other tablet :D

    As few others mentioned, theres always wifi tethering. Ive understood that especially in the US carriers like to control/forbid it or ask extra for it? Not the case around here though, so if theres sometimes a need for a cellular connection for the tablet, I'll get it from my phone, most of the time there wont be such need for me though.
    Last edited by Coreldan; 10-19-2012 at 05:19 PM.
    10-19-2012 05:06 PM
  12. norville2's Avatar
    It does have a USB 2.0 which should allow cellular connectivity through a 3g/4g USB data stick.
    not really. 4G/3G just makes it more expensive
    It is quite simple, adding 2/3/4g to the Suface would increase the price, all you have to do is to use you phone and tether. Or failing that buy a dongle....simples.
    blackprince and bachone like this.
    10-19-2012 05:13 PM
  13. uxo22's Avatar
    I guess the reason I see no problem with it is that I can tether the surface tablet to my phones and use it that was. It's also cheaper that way because I don't need to pay two different data bills.
    blackprince and bachone like this.
    10-19-2012 06:00 PM
  14. SlickShoesRUCrazy's Avatar
    one of the reasons my older brother got put off by the surface and is waiting for gen 2.

    Very dumb to leave that kind of feature out. While wifi accessibility is definitely way more prevalent these days, it's not 100 percent guaranteed every were you go.
    10-19-2012 07:16 PM
  15. SlickShoesRUCrazy's Avatar
    It is quite simple, adding 2/3/4g to the Suface would increase the price, all you have to do is to use you phone and tether. Or failing that buy a dongle....simples.
    Microsoft is already charging a premium price for usb,microsd and hdmi that only cost a buck or two each on the motherboard.
    10-19-2012 07:18 PM
  16. cluberti's Avatar
    one of the reasons my older brother got put off by the surface and is waiting for gen 2.

    Very dumb to leave that kind of feature out. While wifi accessibility is definitely way more prevalent these days, it's not 100 percent guaranteed every were you go.
    There's nothing dumb about it - it increases device cost for all to satisfy only a small subset of users. It would be better (both for Microsoft and those users) that they bring their own hotspot devices. Better for Microsoft in that they don't waste money on building devices with features a small subset of the tablet using population needs, and better for the customer in that they don't get tied into a specific carrier or small subset of carriers INSIDE the device. I for one use my phone or a hotspot for tethering, and while it's not as easy as using an internal aircard, it does allow me to switch vendors freely or use different devices based on whether or not the data access is personal or business (which also happens).

    I am sure there will be people who will be turned off by the Surface's lack of 3G/4G connectivity, but for those people there are a number of other devices which sport this feature.
    10-19-2012 08:00 PM
  17. pavvento's Avatar
    That's true, but I think the option should be there. Maybe Microsoft will realize that after their 1st batch and add it to the next batch. Who knows. :D
    It isn't as simple as adding an option. It creates design challenges as well as the need to re-design antennas and chips.
    10-19-2012 08:31 PM
  18. Daniel Ratcliffe's Avatar
    There's nothing dumb about it - it increases device cost for all to satisfy only a small subset of users. It would be better (both for Microsoft and those users) that they bring their own hotspot devices. Better for Microsoft in that they don't waste money on building devices with features a small subset of the tablet using population needs, and better for the customer in that they don't get tied into a specific carrier or small subset of carriers INSIDE the device. I for one use my phone or a hotspot for tethering, and while it's not as easy as using an internal aircard, it does allow me to switch vendors freely or use different devices based on whether or not the data access is personal or business (which also happens).

    I am sure there will be people who will be turned off by the Surface's lack of 3G/4G connectivity, but for those people there are a number of other devices which sport this feature.
    Yeah, my laptop doesn't have 3G/4G connectivity, I just tether from my WP.
    10-19-2012 09:22 PM
  19. rebornempowered's Avatar
    If you can't tether with your phone you are better off getting a Wi-Fi hot spot device anyway. That way you can use it with your laptop or some other device. Also you are not tied to a particular carrier. You can also get prepaid and I believe there is even a free service out there.
    Bkr11 likes this.
    10-20-2012 03:42 PM
  20. jdevenberg's Avatar
    If you can't tether with your phone you are better off getting a Wi-Fi hot spot device anyway. That way you can use it with your laptop or some other device. Also you are not tied to a particular carrier. You can also get prepaid and I believe there is even a free service out there.
    This. Pick up a hotspot device (preferably off contract), then if you ever have anything (or anyone) else with you that needs a data connection you can have multiple devices tethered instead of just having your tablet.
    10-20-2012 04:01 PM
  21. bobsentell's Avatar
    USB LTE Verizon stick.

    Voila! Surface has cellular connection.
    10-20-2012 05:27 PM
  22. blackprince's Avatar
    As many have said this "Achilles Heel" as you so melodramatically put it is solved easily with a Wi-Fi hot spot using your smartphone. No need to pad the Surface with needless features.
    10-20-2012 09:59 PM
  23. ieuser's Avatar
    I have a bunch of geek friends and none of them pay for data on a tablet. I personally use mobile hotspot.

    I guess with the Surface pro you could always add an USB air card.
    10-21-2012 01:28 AM
  24. wormy6's Avatar
    I expect someone will make a windows tablet with cellular connectivity soon. It is just a really niche device that none of the major players wanted to come out of the opening gates with it.

    Anecdotal: I know of 3 cellular netbooks purchased by my family and close friends (without first consulting me, foolishly). They were all sold in wireless stores and the people who bought them didn't fully understand what was happening. Basically all 3 netbooks barely got used, and 2 of them may have never been used via the network, but all are running their full 2 year contract. These devices are mostly just a $$ trap. The devices themselves are usually poor quality. There was buyers remorse pretty early on in all cases and the netbooks were just so slow and annoying that none of them got used enough. They should have been returned really, and contracts cancelled. The one I have seen and used myself to try it out was a huge pain to connect, often lost connection, etc. It was a netbook sold by verizon about 3 years ago. I would never recommend one.
    Last edited by wormy6; 10-21-2012 at 06:13 AM.
    10-21-2012 06:08 AM
  25. stephen_az's Avatar
    A friend was extremely excited about the Surface tablet and was prepared to preorder one. The only thing holding him back was he had seen no information regarding cellular connectivity. He e-mailed MS and here was the response:



    From: Microsoft Store Support [mailto:XXXXXXXX]
    Sent: Friday, October 19, 2012 12:31 PM
    To: XXXXXXXXX
    Subject: RE: SRX1185945955ID - Microsoft Store

    Thank you for taking the time to email us at the Microsoft Store. I understand the importance of understanding our new products. I appreciate the opportunity to assist you.

    At this time we have no plans to release a version with 3G/4G capabilities.

    I am pleased that you have contacted us for assistance. You can also reach us by phone at 1-877-MY-MS-STORE (696-7786) Monday-Friday, 8am-1am EST; 12pm-8pm EST on weekends.

    Kyle P.
    Microsoft Store Email Support


    Many may yawn and say, "no big deal!", but to completely eschew a cellular option for a tablet offering is not a smart move. I imagine there are many people for whom lack of 3G/4G connection will be a dealbreaker. Laptop users are used to the lack of cellular options...tablet users not so much.

    I am really rooting for MS and the Surface devices to be strong and have coattails that will bring Windows 8 Phone to the fore, but I think this is a crucial mistake.

    Any thoughts?
    There are some for whom it might be a deal breaker but take look at the real numbers on WIFI vs cellular tablet sales and then the proportion that are ever actually activated. Simply put, the large majority of tablet sales across all platforms are WIFI and of the cellular models a strong percentage are never activated which means that are defacto WIFI devices too. You also need to have carriers on board and, in the US, at least two models or you are only capturing a faction of the market. Essentially, you are driving up costs and diluting the number of units you can sell without relying on third party carrier(s) (and cutting them in on the profit). This is at a time when the largest US carrier is clearly pushing share everything and tethering. Yes, you can "add" a tablet for $10 a month and they are pushing that to an extent but they are no longer subsidizing the price of tablets and don't even offer a contract option for the iPad. Altogether, calculations need to be made as to what will have the offer the biggest impact and largest sales. Personally, I think they made the correct choice - demonstrate a market and a successful product and then branch out.

    FWIW, I think whatever decision Microsoft made, it would still be criticized anyway. Even the Surface RT pre-order success has been turned into a source of criticism by some alleged industry types. They went from claiming it would not sell to now suggesting people are confused and its sales are going to hurt Windows 8. People can continue on that path and invent Achilles heels or sit tight and see whether any concerns have any real traction. So far that does not appear to be the case and I doubt it will be so in the end....
    10-22-2012 02:37 AM

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