If rumors about WiFi-only Microsoft Surface are true, they just took something grand and made it fail

Microsoft Surface Tablet

There is buzz in both directions surrounding the Microsoft Surface. On one hand, it has some nice functionality reported that will make it appealing to many. On the other hand, it’s just a small laptop with a touchscreen. Some say that they got in too late. Other say they got in when they were ready to make a difference. Regardless of which side of the buzz you’re on, there’s one major mistake that they are rumored to be making.

Bloomberg reports that the first release of the device will be WiFi-only. If that rumor turns out to be a reality, then Microsoft will be missing a huge opportunity to actually make a dent in the iPad domination over tablets.

For most, a WiFi tablet is all that is needed. Between smartphone tethering, portable hotspots, and a seemingly-incessant flow of free WiFi flowing through the air across major cities, there’s no need to pay extra to have another mobile-phone-network connection. That’s not the big issue here, but unfortunately it’s the thing that Microsoft’s leaders are looking at the most, that it’s not a big issue for most.

The problem arises when we consider the importance of momentum that only Apple and Amazon have demonstrated recently during their launches. Google and Microsoft are the masters of the hesitant launch and it’s one of the reasons that they have not been as dominant as they could be. When Surface is released, every single sale counts. Every number will be analyzed. Every specification will be measured. Every feature will be tested, then retested, then retested again.

The numbers at and around launch will determine the overall success of the device. If everyone gets one, everyone will get one. That’s not circular reasoning. It’s the idea that launched the iPad and that made the Kindle a competitor for a while despite greatly-inferior hardware and software. Microsoft cannot afford a single missed opportunity. They can’t have people saying, “I’ll wait for the 4G version.” They need to sell as many as possible as quickly as possible to have any chance at all at really making an impact on a marketing that is currently engulfed by one device.

They will be making a huge mistake if they go in with their gun half-cocked.

Written by Sal McCloskey

+Sal McCloskey is a tech blogger in Los Angeles who (sadly) falls into the stereotype associated with nerds. Yes, he's a Star Trek fan and writes about it on Uberly. His glasses are thick and his allergies are thicker. Despite all that, he's (somehow) married to a beautiful woman and has 4 kids. Find him on Twitter or Facebook,
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2 Comments »

 
#1
Anonymous
June 22nd, 2012 at 12:41 pm

This is important:

For most, a WiFi tablet is all that is needed. Between smartphone tethering, portable hotspots, and a seemingly-incessant flow of free WiFi flowing through the air across major cities, there’s no need to pay extra to have another mobile-phone-network connection. That’s not the big issue here, but unfortunately it’s the thing that Microsoft’s leaders are looking at the most, that it’s not a big issue for most. 

I don’t agree that 3g or 4g access WITHOUT a smart phone an option that should be left off. Wifi on Hotspots kills batteries on the smartphone and therefore is a problem

 
 
#2
Shawn Blais
June 28th, 2012 at 9:24 am

You do realize, I hope, that only 6% of iPad’s ever pull data down from a Cell network?
http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/23/wifi-rules-ok-only-6-of-ipad-sessions-come-from-cellular-networks/ 

FAIL!

 

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