Signs point to first Microsoft Surface tablet with LTE

Microsoft may be getting ready to add 4G/LTE to a Surface product. To date, Surface tablets have only come with Wi-Fi, putting them at a disadvantage when competing with rival products like the iPad.

Surface 2. Currently no Surface products have 3G/4G capability.
Surface 2. Currently no Surface products have 3G/4G capability. Microsoft

Microsoft appears to be working toward adding 4G/LTE to its Surface tablet for the first time.

In an FCC filing (via Neowin), a device that appears to be a Surface product (see photo at bottom) has emerged, a possible indication that a new Surface model may be imminent.

The FCC documentation states that the device was tested with WindowsRT8.1, so that could mean it's the Windows RT-based Surface tablet, not the Surface Pro, which runs full-blown Windows 8.1.

And this comports with comments Microsoft made to CNET last year. "Windows RT will...be a strong platform for tablets that come with 3G/4G capability," Microsoft said at the time.

Also, in a reddit AMA in September of last year, Panos Panay, corporate VP of Surface at Microsoft and Surface team members, said that a future Surface product would have LTE.

The Surface 2 packs a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 4 processor, a 10.6-inch 1,920x1,080 display, and weighs 1.5 pounds.

It should be noted that the RT-based Lumia 2520 from Nokia -- whose mobile business Microsoft is set to acquire -- already sports LTE capability.

This doesn't necessarily preclude the Surface Pro 2 -- which is basically an Intel Haswell-based laptop in tablet form -- from getting LTE. We'll have to wait and see.

Microsoft declined to comment.

Image submitted by Microsoft to the FCC.
Image submitted by Microsoft to the FCC. Microsoft
About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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