8:55 PM -- There appears to be a surprising absence in the newly-announced Microsoft Corp. Surface tablets: 4G wireless connectivity.
The Redmond-based company announced the cleverly designed new tablets-cum-PCs at an event in Los Angeles on Monday evening. Despite canny features like a super-skinny keyboard cover and a kickstand, the tablet appears to lack 4G capabilities and the associated carrier support.
Bloggers at the event Tweeted that the two devices have multiple Wi-Fi antennas for connectivity.
This will certainly help to differentiate the devices from its perceived key rival, the Apple Inc. iPad. Apple has consistently launched its tablets with cellular support. The latest iPad can run over Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G, at least in the U.S.
Microsoft hasn't said exactly when the Windows 8 tablets will launch and how much they'll cost, so it's possible that things might change vis-a-vis wireless over the coming months. Certainly, Microsoft has talent on hand to include cellular options since it bought out Danger Inc.. (See Microsoft Buys Danger.)
Tablets can be data hogs, consuming as much as five times the data that a smartphone does, so you likely want to stay on Wi-Fi most of the time anyway. But if you want a tablet with the option of 4G connectivity, Microsoft may have just made your choice of device a little simpler than it could have been.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile