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.

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


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.