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Innovation

Microsoft's first LTE wireless Surface tablet gets closer to launch

A device that looks like an AT&T LTE-enabled Surface 2 has received FCC approval. Maybe the promised ARM-based Surface with built-in wireless is close to announcement.
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Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor on

Last fall, Microsoft officials said to expect the company to make available an LTE-enabled version of the Surface 2 in early 2014.

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It looks like that product may be getting closer to availability -- though given Microsoft's spotty availability of its Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 devices, maybe I should say "announcement."

A "portable computing device" that sure looks like a 10-inch Surface with AT&T-native LTE and HSPA data support has received Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval.

Last fall, Microsoft execs said to expect an LTE-enabled Surface 2 to debut on AT&T and Vodafone. They made it clear at that time that it would be an ARM-based device, not an Intel-based one, that would get LTE wireless connectivity. Nokia's Lumia 2520 ARM-based tablet already has LTE support and is available on Verizon and AT&T both.

Microsoft officals recently declined to comment on when the promised LTE-enabled Surface 2 would be available.

Microsoft also is still believed to be readying a Surface mini-tablet with a screen size between 7 and 8 inches. Last I heard from my sources (last year), the target date for availability of the Mini was spring 2014. There's no word, at least from my contacts, as to whether the Surface Mini will be LTE-enabled. I had heard Microsoft was planning to make ARM the processor inside the Surface Mini, but others have reported that they believe the device will be Intel-based.

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