The first release of Microsoft's Surface tablet computers will be Wi-Fi-only, two unnamed sources told the Washington Post.

When the tablets were launched Monday, Microsoft did not say whether the initial release of the Surface tablet on Windows RT or Windows 8 Pro would have cellular connectivity. Officials referred to a shortened spec sheet that left many details about the tablets unclear. The spec sheet lists both models of the Surface tablet as coming with various ports and a 2x2 MIMO antenna. Such antennas can be used in both Wi-Fi and cellular communications. Since the spec sheet was incomplete, it can't be assumed there will be no cellular connectivity, analysts said.

[ Check out this first look: Microsoft Surface tablets. | InfoWorld's Woody Leonhard runs down what we don't know about Microsoft Surface. | Stay ahead of advances in mobile technology with InfoWorld's Mobile Edge blog and Mobilize newsletter. ]

One informed source associated with a chip maker that's likely to provide chips for Surface tablets told Computerworld there wouldn't be a chip for a cellular radio connection in the first release. However, it wasn't clear what other chip makers will do.

The new iPad from Apple has 4G LTE cellular and Wi-Fi connections, although some models are Wi-Fi-only. Analysts for months have noted that Wi-Fi-only models sell better and make up the majority of the market, partly because many users don't want to pay extra for a cellular connection for a tablet as well as a smartphone.

Part of the Verizon Wireless Share Everything plan launching June 28 will allow customers with both tablets and smartphones to share the data service between them. That data sharing plan is expected to encourage interest in more purchases of cellular plans for tablets.

Some analysts say Microsoft will eventually want to offer a tablet with cellular service to expand the locations where the tablets can be used and have Internet access. Since tablets aren't as light and portable as a smartphone, which can be kept in a pants pocket , so users often find them easier to use within Wi-Fi zones in an office, coffee shop or at home.

The Post's sources also said Microsoft is using Pegatron Corp. in Taiwan to manufacture the Surface.
SEARCH engines have barely changed since Google was founded in 1998. Sure, they run on blazingly fast servers and are powered by sophisticated algorithms, but the experience itself is basically the same: users enter a word or two and the engine spits out links to the most relevant pages.
That is about to change.Last month, Google rolled out its "knowledge graph", which serves up facts and services in response to search terms - not just links to websites. It is the latest step in a process in which search engines are morphing into something quite new: vast brains that respond directly to questions posed in everyday language.
"Search does a good job of returning pages," says Shashidhar Thakur of Google. "But we can go beyond that and return knowledge."
Links are not necessarily the best way to answer a query. When I search for "location of Arsenal Football Club", for example, I would prefer to get a direct answer telling me the address of the club's ground in London, rather than a link to a document containing the information. Google and Microsoft's Bing can already provide direct answers to a small number of queries, but the range and depth of those answers is about to expand dramatically.
Over the past few years, Google and Microsoft have been quietly compiling vast knowledge databases to help them do this. Their stores have been built from publicly available information, such as Wikipedia pages, as well as prices from retail websites and user reviews. "All the things that describe an object are scattered across the web," says Stefan Weitz, director of Bing Search. "The challenge is to bring them together."