Surface 2 with LTE Appears Imminent After Microsoft FCC Filing

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We’ve known for several months now that a Surface 2 with LTE support would arrive sometime this year, but now it appears that the updated slate is closing in on a launch date.  
 
Microsoft, Surface, Windows 8.1 RT, AT&T, 4G, LTEAs spotted by Engadget, the FCC has approved a new “portable computing device with GSM, WCDMA, LTE, 802.11 b/g/a/n and Blutetooth radios” from Microsoft. (That third one is the key.) The FCC’s filing came on Tuesday, and describes the equipment under testing (EUT) as running Windows RT 8.1 — the same software found on the Surface 2. 
 
Microsoft’s Surface chief Panos Panoy confirmed that an LTE-capable Surface 2 was in the works shortly after the company unveiled its latest batch of tablets this past September, noting that the ARM-based device would first come to AT&T in the US and Vodafone in Europe. 
 
The Surface 2, like the Surface RT before it, has generally struggled to make an impact on the tablet market since launch. Although we found it to be a plenty serviceable device, its relatively high price, along with Windows RT’s inability to run traditional desktop software, appear to be just too prohibitive for those looking for a productivity-oriented slate.  
 
Giving it LTE support may make it more appealing to certain professionals who are frequently on the go, but it’s unlikely to turn the device’s fortunes around on its own. Instead, it could be seen as more of an added bonus for those who are already satisfied with the Surface 2’s skill set. 
 
“While connected tablets have been gaining some traction,” NPD Group’s VP of Industry Analysis Stephen Baker told TPCR, “the lack of connectivity is certainly not the reason for the Surface’s challenges. It may help some folks make a decision, but it’s not likely to have a measurable sales impact.” 
 
Those holding out hope for an LTE-ready Surface Pro 2, meanwhile, may be out of luck. No mention of a mobile connected version of the device has been made as of yet, despite the fact that it’s proven more successful than its little brother.  
 
Microsoft, Surface, Windows 8.1 RT, AT&T, 4G, LTEBaker believes this omission comes down to the way Microsoft has pushed the more powerful — and more expensive — Surface Pro 2. “The Pro 2 has been positioned more as a notebook than a tablet,” he says, “and as such I would be surprised if they added LTE to it. Very few notebooks have had any success with embedded cellular connectivity.” 
 
Microsoft has not made any official announcements about a Surface 2 with LTE, so we can’t say when exactly it’ll arrive, whether or not AT&T will sell it directly, or how much it’ll cost. On that last point, Baker surmises, “Connectivity has typically been between $100 and $150 of additional cost, and I see no reason why this will change on the Surface 2.”  
 
For what it’s worth, a WiFi-only Surface 2 currently starts at $450, and AT&T’s 4G LTE tablet data plans range from $15 per month for 250MB of data to $50 per month for 5GB of data. Either way, it appears that it won’t be long before we’re able to use the Redmond clan’s RT-based machine on Big Blue’s network.

Source: FCC  
Via: Engadget

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