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Next Surface RT Will Have Snapdragon for 4G LTE

By - Source: Bloomberg | B 15 comments

Microsoft will supposedly use a Snapdragon chip in the next Surface RT tablet for integrated 4G LTE connectivity.

Bloomberg reports that the next Surface RT tablet produced by Microsoft will use Qualcomm as the SoC supplier in addition to Nvidia. The news arrives by way of unnamed sources who said the Qualcomm chips will provide fast wireless data connections while Nvidia will supply its new Tegra chip for some versions.

Based on that info, Microsoft likely chose Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800, 600 or 400 at the very least, all three of which provide integrated 4G LTE and Wireless N connectivity. Nvidia's Tegra 4i, which also sports the same connectivity, likely wasn't ready in time to fit within Microsoft's next-gen Surface RT plans – phones based on this chip aren't even expected to arrive until early 2014. It's also not designed for tablet use.

That said, it's believed that one version of the next-gen Surface RT tablet will sport a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC for 4G LTE connectivity while Wi-Fi only models will have Nvidia's Tegra 4. We already know the Tegra 4 is ready for mass consumption, as it's packed in the Shield handheld slated to launch next week and inside a number of tablets arriving this summer.

To be honest, this may be one of the reasons why Microsoft is selling the current Surface RT tablet at a "fire sale" discount to schools and colleges: to flush out the current stock of first-gen units. There's likely a stockpile of unsold units, as Windows RT on a whole commanded less than one percent of the market share in the first quarter compared to 40 percent owned by Apple.

Microsoft hasn't officially announced plans for a new Surface RT device, but has talked up the details surrounding the "blue" update arriving on Windows 8 and Windows RT later this year. For the latter, Outlook RT 2013 will finally make its debut, joining current Office apps Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

Just recently, sources in the supply chain said that most big-brand vendors have placed their Windows RT plans on hold, and that Microsoft's own Surface RT sequel is the only device in the works. Perhaps then that ODMS are waiting to see how consumers take to a new Surface RT product with Windows RT 8.1 installed, offering a more unified experience than the first-generation model.

Adding Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800, 600 or 400 would be a crucial move for Microsoft, as it would enable consumers and businesses to take the device on the road without the need for tethering. It still doesn't solve the inability to run x86 software on an ARM-based platform, but it does provide a cheaper alternative with 4G LTE connectivity compared to the x86-based Surface Pro model.

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  • 0 Hide
    de5_Roy , June 25, 2013 6:24 AM
    score: qualcomm 1, nvidia 0.
  • 0 Hide
    nikolajj , June 25, 2013 7:09 AM
    I am excited to see how the Surface Pro 2 will turn out :) 
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    daekar , June 25, 2013 7:19 AM
    I don't really understand the point of Surface RT. Surface Pro, heck yes. All of the professionals I've heard from are absolutely in love with theirs, they love the versatility and the ability to ditch their desktop completely unless they have number crunching to do. RT though... if it doesn't run x86 stuff.... why bother?
  • Display all 15 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    stevejnb , June 25, 2013 8:44 AM
    Quote:
    I don't really understand the point of Surface RT. Surface Pro, heck yes. All of the professionals I've heard from are absolutely in love with theirs, they love the versatility and the ability to ditch their desktop completely unless they have number crunching to do. RT though... if it doesn't run x86 stuff.... why bother?


    I can sort of understand why the Surface RT exists but the pricing scheme they have for it is nuts based on that reason. A lot of people like tablets just for media consumption and a full Windows tablet is overkill for that with things more like iPad and Android tablets and Surface RT's being sufficient... But when you price the RT like the horribly overpriced iPad but without the name value of the iPad, you've got a machine that *might* have a niche but has priced itself too large to fit in that niche.

    You're right, the Pro - or Windows 8 pro tablets in general - is awesome... The RT would be good for a nice little tablet to play around with as you're on the go, but at over $500? Just doesn't seem to fit. MS is too big for their breeches with this Surface RT thing.
  • 0 Hide
    cirdecus , June 25, 2013 9:10 AM
    I agree. I like that Microsoft is marking an ARM tablet and that they're wanting to produce a consumption device to get their feet in the iPad\Android tablet market, but without the apps and the robust ecosystems of Apple and Google, they're pretty much screwed. I think the tablet is farily competitive in terms of design and performance, but the content just isn't there. If the content was there and they marketed it correctly and allowed you to download all of the apps on your x86 tablets and PC's, then I think people will definitely migrate to microsoft and enjoy one ecosystem for all their devices, but without that huge app store, the RT world (and windows tablet world in general) just won't take off. Right now, the only appeal of a windows 8 pro tablet is a cool form factor with enormous power and the ability to get rid of the laptop\desktop all together, but as a consumption device, I don't use my win 8 pro tablet for apps, because.. well.. there really isn't any lol.
  • 0 Hide
    mcd023 , June 25, 2013 9:16 AM
    Intel, you are doing very well! Can't even convince people to use the ARM cpu's!
  • 0 Hide
    teh_chem , June 25, 2013 9:33 AM
    Wonder if Office on RT will lag with the S800 (or Tegra4) like it did horribly with Tegra3.
  • 0 Hide
    cirdecus , June 25, 2013 11:24 AM
    I agree. I like that Microsoft is marking an ARM tablet and that they're wanting to produce a consumption device to get their feet in the iPad\Android tablet market, but without the apps and the robust ecosystems of Apple and Google, they're pretty much screwed. I think the tablet is farily competitive in terms of design and performance, but the content just isn't there. If the content was there and they marketed it correctly and allowed you to download all of the apps on your x86 tablets and PC's, then I think people will definitely migrate to microsoft and enjoy one ecosystem for all their devices, but without that huge app store, the RT world (and windows tablet world in general) just won't take off. Right now, the only appeal of a windows 8 pro tablet is a cool form factor with enormous power and the ability to get rid of the laptop\desktop all together, but as a consumption device, I don't use my win 8 pro tablet for apps, because.. well.. there really isn't any lol.
  • 0 Hide
    GreaseMonkey_62 , June 25, 2013 12:40 PM
    Because the Surface RT is selling so well, they're going to build another one????
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    Cau Trindade , June 25, 2013 3:07 PM
    Well, I'm also excited about whats Surface RT 2 will be, but it will surely has to be launched based on a new market positioning strategy. I think the Surface PRO an other full Windows 8 Tablets will have its battery time and weight improved, so the advantage of Surface RT will only be the price. I'm using my Surface RT for 7 months, 7 hours/day and started a blog to tell about the experience. Check Surface RT REAL REVIEWS on http://SurfaceRtReview.BlogSpot.com
  • 0 Hide
    somebodyspecial , June 25, 2013 5:53 PM
    Quote:
    score: qualcomm 1, nvidia 0.


    You must have missed the part saying the WIFI version will have T4. How many do you think really are after a modem in a tablet? I don't see many models having trouble selling without a contract and wireless :) 

    Remember that Sony couldn't sell the 3G Vita at all. It's just not used on these types of devices. This will be important to a small audience, just like ultrabooks and I suspect will sell just like them. NOT MANY. So score another for T4 for getting in the next version that will sell more units than the modem versions. Most people who have a tablet already have a phone for calls and use wifi for tablets (say at mcdonalds etc or in 90% of the cases at HOME). Both of these are on RT anyway, which won't sell many to begin with...ROFL.

    Considering MS's past MISTAKEN choice of the slow T3~1.3ghz (instead of the 1.7ghz T3+ out the same time which would have gotten far better reviews for what $3-4 more?), I'm guessing the modem one will be a S400 rather than S800. So T4 in the one, and fast, vs S400 with modem for people that need that feature but slower. IF they had them both at the same power (basically T4/S800 are the same until we see some REAL games tested), there would be no need for a T4 version. Qcom's chips are priced higher than Tegra's also so this should be interesting to see how they play this out.
  • 0 Hide
    somebodyspecial , June 25, 2013 6:01 PM
    Quote:
    Wonder if Office on RT will lag with the S800 (or Tegra4) like it did horribly with Tegra3.


    IF they had chose the T3+ @1.7ghz it wouldn't have been an issue. So no, with either of the new ones no problem. They are much faster. A 1.3ghz A9 and crap gpu, compared to quad A15 at 1.9ghz or S800 at 2.2-2.3ghz both with great gpus. There is a HUGE difference between them.

    Then again, it doesn't come out and say WHICH qcom chip it has. Might be an S400, which would make it useless for gaming, but I think the modem version is aimed at business people anyway. T4 will be for the users seeking FUN and not aimed at business. They supposedly have outlook coming though so maybe they'll both sell to business. I don't know any business users that don't have a phone on them already, so I think even the wireless aimed at business is kind of useless for a large portion of them. You don't get much work on these besides some emails and browsing. Nobody creates anything on tablets or phones.
  • 0 Hide
    daekar , June 25, 2013 6:07 PM
    Quote:
    Because the Surface RT is selling so well, they're going to build another one????


    That's precisely the point about the Surface Pro... it's suited for content creation and consumption. When I said business professionals are ditching their desktops for Surface Pro tablets, I meant for everything.
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Wonder if Office on RT will lag with the S800 (or Tegra4) like it did horribly with Tegra3.


    IF they had chose the T3+ @1.7ghz it wouldn't have been an issue. So no, with either of the new ones no problem. They are much faster. A 1.3ghz A9 and crap gpu, compared to quad A15 at 1.9ghz or S800 at 2.2-2.3ghz both with great gpus. There is a HUGE difference between them.

    Then again, it doesn't come out and say WHICH qcom chip it has. Might be an S400, which would make it useless for gaming, but I think the modem version is aimed at business people anyway. T4 will be for the users seeking FUN and not aimed at business. They supposedly have outlook coming though so maybe they'll both sell to business. I don't know any business users that don't have a phone on them already, so I think even the wireless aimed at business is kind of useless for a large portion of them. You don't get much work on these besides some emails and browsing. Nobody creates anything on tablets or phones.


  • 0 Hide
    RealityClash , June 25, 2013 11:54 PM
    Its a shame MS didn't just have a Intel Core Surface and an Atom Surface from the start and ditch RT before it was even released. The power and battery life of current and next gen Atom CPU's are just as capable as ARM CPU's so there's really no need for RT.
  • 0 Hide
    somebodyspecial , June 28, 2013 3:51 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Because the Surface RT is selling so well, they're going to build another one????


    That's precisely the point about the Surface Pro... it's suited for content creation and consumption. When I said business professionals are ditching their desktops for Surface Pro tablets, I meant for everything.
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Wonder if Office on RT will lag with the S800 (or Tegra4) like it did horribly with Tegra3.


    IF they had chose the T3+ @1.7ghz it wouldn't have been an issue. So no, with either of the new ones no problem. They are much faster. A 1.3ghz A9 and crap gpu, compared to quad A15 at 1.9ghz or S800 at 2.2-2.3ghz both with great gpus. There is a HUGE difference between them.

    Then again, it doesn't come out and say WHICH qcom chip it has. Might be an S400, which would make it useless for gaming, but I think the modem version is aimed at business people anyway. T4 will be for the users seeking FUN and not aimed at business. They supposedly have outlook coming though so maybe they'll both sell to business. I don't know any business users that don't have a phone on them already, so I think even the wireless aimed at business is kind of useless for a large portion of them. You don't get much work on these besides some emails and browsing. Nobody creates anything on tablets or phones.




    If by creating content you mean word docs ok and emails (is that content creation?...LOL), but not much else. These are underpowered to do REAL work and will be for a while. It's a niche market that can be replaced with one of these. I wouldn't enjoy working on one of these (too small) and out to my 24in would just be not enough in so many ways to get the job done.