Microsoft to release LTE-enabled Surface 2 tablet with AT&T, Vodafone

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) revealed that AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and Vodafone will likely be the first operators to provide connectivity in the U.S. and Europe for its ARM-based Surface 2 tablet with LTE.  The company said last week that the Surface 2 will be available in early 2014. 

Panos Panay, the company's vice president responsible for its Surface tablets, made the announcement Tuesday at a Surface promotional event in a Microsoft Store in Seattle, according to Geekwire. The report also said Panay made it clear that Microsoft does not have plans yet for an Intel-based Surface Pro 2 with LTE. The Surface 2 is powered by Nvidia's Tegra 4 processor, but it's not clear if Nvidia will also power an LTE-enabled Surface 2.

Thus far, none of Microsoft's Surface-branded Windows RT or Windows 8 tablets have come with embedded cellular connectivity. The company is hoping that the refreshed versions of its tablets, which come with updated software, will help spur greater adoption. Microsoft was forced to write down $900 million in July on unsold Surface RT inventory.

Microsoft has long been rumored to also be working on a smaller so-called "Surface mini" tablet, and Panay seemed to confirm that Microsoft is working on multiple new designs.  "We have a lot of great things that we are thinking about and working on, and there are multiple aspect ratios and sizes and awesome things to come from Surface," he said, according to Geekwire. "That's the best answer I have for you."

The news comes as Microsoft partner Nokia (NYSE:NOK) is reportedly preparing to use its Oct. 22 Nokia World event in Abu Dhabi to announce at least six new devices, including potentially a Windows RT tablet of its own with LTE. Microsoft is in the process of acquiring Nokia's hardware business.

For more:
- see this Geekwire article
- see this CNET article
- see this The Verge article

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