Surface Tablets rumors on pricing and being WiFi-only make their rounds

Microsoft's Surface tablet event definitely caused a buzz that was dampened a little with the Windows Phone Summit which was held two days later. In a way, Windows Phone 8 took a little wind out of Surface's sails.  While the spotlight has been on Windows Phone 8, there have been a few rumors growing with regards to the Surface tablets which we'll catch up on.

The release date is still up in the air and Microsoft is sticking with the Surface RT being released with the general availability of Windows 8. The Windows 8 Pro Surface would hit store shelves about 90 days after that. Initial availability will be through Microsoft's stores and select third party retailers. Likely Amazon.com, Best Buy, etc.

Price speculation has ranged from $500 on up with the Windows 8 Pro being the higher priced of the two. At this point, pricing is anyone's guess and Liveside.net is seeing the ballpark pricing as $399/$499 (32gb/64gb versions) for the RT Surface and $799/$999 (64gb/128gb versions). We would hope the ballpark is a little smaller but $399 for a 32gb Surface isn't too bad. Is it? In fact, over at Techie-Buzz, Manan Kakkar notes that even at $599 it's a steal compared to an iPad:

WP Central

Oh...there's one more rumor circulating about the Surface's release. Initially, the Surface will only support Wifi connectivity. Bloomberg is reporting that initially the tables will go on sale without a connection to mobile-phone networks. This isn't necessarily a bad thing in that a) it will allow Microsoft to keep the cost down and b) you won't have wireless carriers potentially delaying the initial release. Models with cellular connections would hit the market at some point after the initial release.

You can also read TechRadar's early "review" of the Surface. Overall, they seem to like it.

So...we leave you with two questions. What would be a competitive price for the Surface and is "Wifi only" a serious limitation or not a big deal?

Thanks, everyone, for the tips!

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

159 Comments
  • Not a big deal being WiFi only for me as long as the Lumia 800 gets internet sharing soon. The Windows RT version can't be much more than the new iPad we all know that. Pro version can afford to be about a third more expensive again
  • Here here
  • What does Wi-Fi only matter? The Surface running Windows 8 Pro supposedly runs like a laptop, and not many laptops have 3G/4G built in.
  • Agreed. Cellular internet options, at least here in the US, are insanely expensive so that cellular hardware would mostly go unused for me. If I do want something, I'll be happy to USB dongle it.
  • Ya i totally agree, the instant i read wifi only i went, "isn't there a usb port anyways that you can stick a usb sim adapter anyways?" probably cheaper too
  • Big deal for me... U should not rely on another gadget for internet... Make it standard on all models
  • Why pay for 2 seperate data plans when you don't have to?
  • Good point
  • I don't know about the US or UK, but here in Germany I'm using one dataplan for both my HTC Arrive and my iPad.
    I think you guys need to think a little out of the box. In other countries you don't have to pay for two plans to use mobile internet on your tablet and your smartphone. So this won't be a problem. Battery life of those smartphones already is tight, I don't want to sacrifice more of that for thetering. I also don't want to have to use an external stick either. So no mobile Internet will probably be a no buy for me. In my opinion those tablets need mobile Internet. In my case, the Pro Version, I don't want to pay a load of many and still dont have the imo basic elements. In the other case, the RT Version, most of the users are buying those for the basic surfing while on the move. They also don't want to handle with another external hardware. That makes things too complicate for them.
    So why don't offer both? One without, and another more expensive one with the module?
  • But the 4G USB dongle (LTE, or 3G for that matter) could easily be upgraded to "5G" and keep your same Surface! Why bother with hardware internals? German duplex data plans will make you spend, change, configure, etc. a new Surface if they upgrade them, wouldn't them? I also could not care less about Carriers blocking updates, get them straight from MS via wireless, could not get any simpler! So it keeps up with the pace, makes me spend less cost and time, and is way too easy! Even the carrier would give out the “New higher speed” USB dongle for free! (As long as you renew the contract).
  • Even better: do not provide any internet connectivity. That can make it cheaper and people will not waste time surfing. The resources saved by Microsoft can then be spent on developing Microsoft Windows 9, which can depart from any old systems so dramatically no upgrade will be possible. Or necessary, so Microsoft might save time and resources. Even without wi-fi it is going to be much better than iPads or Android devices!! Seriously, guys - get real or you will become history!!
  • WiFi is fine for this reason I don't want it tied to a carrier like att I like freedom. And al those taking about a dongle they also sell those hot spot devices that let 8 people use it and it doesn't need a dongle or USB port and can be cheaper than the built in options that's what I plan on doinging
  • I would personally not buy the cell version as WI-Fi + ATT Nokia Lumia 900 with internet sharing will allow me to use the internet when needed.  For only $20 more I get to share 5gb with surface. Wi-Fi will all I need and the reason I purchase a Wi-Fi only ipad was because I shared that as well.
  • I've got a Lumia 800 which on T-Mobile UK was left behind as far as tethering is concerned. I do have an Android tablet and need to revert to my HTC HD2 or use my wife's wildfire to go online. Adding an extra piece of hardware with its own battery will make life more complicated but MS can try. Instead of being competitive they bet on being innovative. Well, I am quite sure Apple and Google will try being both. MS hasn't learned much from their past failure in the cell phone/tablet world. I honestly wanted both Nokia and Microsoft to succeed, now I can see they may stay afloat but are heading for a niche position selling stuff to their hard core fanboys mainly. I doubt I will be one of them unless by the Autumn they come up with Windows Mobile 8 Lite. I don't care about wiping my phone clean, I have a SkyDrive backup of my contacts guys.
  • Fix this app it keeps crashing when there's a tile update
  • I completely agree w/Jay. All the places I go to already have free WiFi. And if I'm not in a WiFi hot spot, then I have my wp7's internet sharing. This all so awesome!
  • And on T-Mobile UK it hasn't yet. I am quite disappointed with Nokia's not enabling it by default, the initial battery disaster and poor sound quality (both problems were rectified later but why were they there in the first place?). I am quite disappointed with MS semi-abandoning Lumia 800 and if I stay with them I don't think it's gonna be on any of Nokia phones for me. They can probably still win me over persuading MS to give my Lumia WM8 Lite or sth like that. WM 7.8 is too little and too late.
  • I like the pricing here I come 128 GB if it's true
  • WiFi only is how I like it and $500 for 32 would as the highest I will go if they want me to get it on launch.
  • I wouldnt want one with mobile anyway. Can always find wifi or tether to my new wp8 phone if needed.
  • ipad + power book or ultrabook price is MUCH HIGHER than a single win8 tablet that does both things.
    ipad is a losing proposition if you care about money.
  • I like WiFi only. I can tether with my phone and save the extra data package.
  • WiFi only is great idk about the rest of ya but I really don't want to pay for another overpriced data plan and the prices sound like there on par with all the other tablets out there so not a deal breaker. But as we all can agree cheaper helps us all :-D
  • Wifi only doesn't matter.. it has a USB port.  If you want 3g\4g, use a dongle.
    Price will be 499/599 32/64 RT, and 899/999 64/128 Pro versions.
    These are just my guesses.  The pro versions could be even more expensive, but I don't think they can afford to have any higher prices for the RT then what I listed.  Plus the Keyboard\Covers are going to be extra.
  • Your dead on. Next iPad will be 32gb $499. Surface accessories will be extra, im thinking $69.
  • http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en/us/about.aspx
     
    scroll down a little... By the way it is written I think the keyboard is definitely included with the surface
  • Maybe, but the fact they're showing it in a range of colors implies accessory.
  • Well, since this will only be availible at MS Stores and MS Store Online perhaps you will be able to chose the color you want when you make your purchase.
  • Yes, true about purchasing the color you want. Would be even better if hey would just include the color you want at the time of purchase, rather than having to shell out extra for he color you want.
  • It was discussed already that the keyboard will come with the Surface, not extra and the color choice is there with no charge, this is done to be competitive with ipad and other tablets. Now with pricing it'll be even more competitive so they will drive the prices down to about 399 for the basic model and probably around 599 the Pro. This will make their product even more competitive and it will drive the market down. Since there is only WiFi, this is the best solution for not just profit but marketing, This is the only possible way for the Surface, Win8, and MS to make a big splash in the world of electronics and change the way we compute, making them the #1 choice again for all your electronic needs, plus who can forget the new WP8 and the next years release of Xbox 720 making them the best ecosystem one step at a time! Then again this is my opinion lol.
  • I am glad it is WiFi only. I'll tether via lte in my 900 of I want cellular. Given that most other 32 GB tabs launch between $499-$599 I think $399 is tremendously fair. At $799 I just may get a pro though. All depends on heat and battery life.
  • $399 for a 32gb RT would get my money, more than that and I'll have to wait. 
     
    Lack of mobile data is no big deal at all, either share on your phone or purchase a mobile hotspot and be just as happy.
  • Ya right. iPad 16GB is $499.
  • iPad is overpriced. You can get netbooks for $500
  • And yet other large manufacturers struggle to match the iPad price points. Don't fool yourself - the iPad is more aggressively priced than you think.
  • I know I'm dreaming, but that is the price of would take to get me personally to bite. I also think something drastic has to be done to break into the tablet market ot else its doomed. With low rez screen it may be possible? Still hoping anyway as i want this to do well.
  • I am dreaming too. Would bite without question at 400
  • Adding mobile wireless only allows the carriers to gouge you with ridiculous data plans. Thats why I have tethering on my phone plan which amount to basically the same thing so why complicate the tablet side?
  • Its got a USB port. Therefore WiFi only is not an issue. Dongles!
  • When did they say the keyboard cover was being included for free? At $399 I would camp out for it.
  • I doubt that WiFi would be a problem, so many phones can make hotspots now. I would go 64gb RT
  • is this a joke? a tablet is used mainly ofr mobility reasons...another bad mistake after abandoning windows mobile users and windows phone 7 users. there is something wrong in microsoft
  • Say what now?
  • What the fúck is your problem? If you want cellular data use a dongle or tether.
  • my windows phone cant and i dont want rely on another device. they should make another sku.
  • Sorry, had to quote myself... "the 4G USB dongle (LTE, or 3G for that matter) could easily be upgraded to "5G" and keep your same Surface! Why bother with hardware internals? Duplex data plans will make you spend, change, configure, etc. a new Surface if they upgrade them, wouldn't them? I also could not care less about Carriers blocking updates, get them straight from MS via wireless, could not get any simpler! So it keeps up with the pace, makes me spend less cost and time, and is way too easy! Even the carrier would give out the “New higher speed” USB dongle for free! (As long as you renew the contract)"...
  • There's always one bad egg
  • Trolling on a fanboy site means people are getting scared of us!
  • I don't think aznable-r knows how computers work.
  • Is this a joke?......is that he's dumb
  • I agree... Tethering with mobile drains battery... Dongle is lost or forgotten... At least by me. Pro users need this and so do normal users... MOBILITY
  • Shut up idiot
  • agreed, MS thinks it's the 90's and it's them plus a little bit of insignificant competition - do they want to go the Nokia way and struggle? They should learn the MS Office/OpenOffice.org/LibreOffice lesson better, success is not something they need to take for granted. Not spoiling your customers, forgetting the "give them more than they expect" rule will bite. Apple fanboys are more determined to overlook Apple's weaknesses, MS and Android supporters want quality of both the product AND the services and MS treats their customers a bit too harshly - look ar the Vista/7 trick. Did it pay? I doubt it. VISTA SP3 would gain so much customer loyalty.... It's so simple - you care for me, I trust you, you want to milk me - I will look at what your competitors have to offer. Once again - it's not the 90's anymore with little competition, weird command-line Linux, a niche MacOS customerbase etc. You'll probably learn that truth the hard way, Microsoft! You won my support with WM 7.5 but have lost a lot of it practically abandoning the support of Lumias.
  • They did not abandon the Lumias, get some reading comprehension
  • WiFi only, don't want anything else. I will be buy Pro, anything less than $1000 works for me. Will probably get 2.
  • Why 2?
  • He wants to connect it end to end like the courier. ;)
  • I know I'm buying one for myself and one for the wife
  • How exactly did WP8 news take the wind out of Surface?
  • I dont understand this either.  It is the same company and both products are expected to work with each other. 
    Odd speculation there.  They also mentioned how it would work with the surface a few times during the presentation. 
  • For me, i already pay a ton for my cell , i would of gone wifi only anyway..
     
    I am considering the Pro, hopefully it is south of $700 :)
  • "would have" or "would've" not "would of"
  • I agree, that price would be great, and WiFi all the way!
  • LOL, dongles, might as well go with USB modem. Only worth $399 if is WiFi only. For $599 I would expect 4G and multi network support (ATT, TMO, Sprunt or Verizon).
  • Agreed... But your price is unreasonable... This isn't only an iPad killer, but a MacBook killer:)
  • Nice!
  • I am already thinking “5G”, so the USB 3.0 MICRO dongle would make me save time (configuring a new Surface), money (why change Surface when Carriers upgrade speeds?), and the hassle of Carriers blocking OS upgrades. iPad/Android 3G/4G is so 2010sh!  
  • WiFi only works. I carry a midi device of I need connectivity. For 32gb, $399 is fair. I would hope to see the high end pro version go for less than a grand to get the geeks out in droves.
  • $399 is a good price for the 32gb RT. An Acer Android 32gb tablet with a Nvidia Tegra 3 is the same price
  • For the sake of my wallet, Wi-Fi only is just fine. :) It's SO EASY to burn through data on 4G, and another device that does it would be a nightmare for my pocketbook.
  • Me. Never bought a tablet so this would b my first, say 345.99....wifi only
  • I only want WiFi. If I can get the 64GB RT version for 599 or less, I'll jump on it
  • Wifi only is fine with me. No need for extra expenses when I can use my cell phone for tethering. I will go with the Pro unless my pocket is not deep. he he he
  • It has USB ports built into it, data anywhere can be had by tethering or data stick. Plus my internet company is building out a wi-fi network so I can get free access anywhere soon.
  • Pro is my next laptop. So excite, bummed about that three month delay.
  • wifi only all good for me
    i made the mistake already before when I got an iPad with 3g. never used it because I already had a mifi device from work. Now, I have a 4g mifi from work as well as ICS on my Lumia 900 (sadly also the feature that has caused celldata/wifi connection issues).
    anyway, pro version please!
  • I'm great with haveing WiFi only.  Don't need another wireless plan.  I'll go as high as $599 for the 32GB if indeed the case is included.  If not then it needs to be $499.  But then again when you consider that it has Office 2013 bundled then I think it's still a bargin at $599 vs the 32GB iPad.
  • Personally I'm planning on grabbing an RT and a Pro when they come out.
  • I was wondering about that myself. A Wi-fi Surface Pro for home and if Nokias delivers like I think they will then a Nokia RT might be in order as well.
  • Yep. Me too. Rt for personal use, pro I'll get my boss to pay for. Guess rt also support multiple users, which I find a big problem with andeoid/ipad - need to be able to share the device, but not my email account, nor my windows store credit card.
  • The Surface comes with a USB port, why lock into expensive carier contract when you can buy a USB 4g dongle and use it. Gives you the freedom of also switching cariers especially when abroad. I wouldn't buy a built-in 4g tablet even if MS offered one.
  • No big deal. I was just going to tether it to my lumia 900
  • No worries about the 3G as long as you have a USB port you are good to go with an mobile internet stick from the provider of your choice.
  • Oh hell yeah... $399.00
  • I'd go WiFi only and tether to my Lumia 900 because I wouldn't want to pay for another data plan. I'd be willing to pay $1,000 for the 128Gb Pro.
     
  • Wireless is not needed.. I know people who have ipads and non of them have a 3G one.. As for price.. I would think being $50.00 or $100.00 less than iPad would be the best way to go.. Also, I been very critical about this.. Microsoft should come out with marketing that makes sense to show why having surface will make things better than the competition..
  • Pro for me $800-$1000 would be ok don't really care about WiFi only, there are so many ways to connect.
  • $999 for 128 GB with keyboard would be good, but I bet it is more like $1200. $450 for 32 GB RT would work and I bet it is within $50 of that. I plan to get the pro or something like the yoga, will wait til not are out. If they make a 7" RT tablet for less than $300, I will be all over that
  • WiFi only not an issue, I rather to spend my $ to get a separated MiFi device to share the internet connections for my pad and notebook, sometimes for my phone too
  • Wi-fi only is fine, and 599 is ok IF it comes with the keyboard