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Next Surface RT Will Have Snapdragon for 4G LTE

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.

  • de5_Roy
    score: qualcomm 1, nvidia 0.
    Reply
  • nikolajj
    I am excited to see how the Surface Pro 2 will turn out :)
    Reply
  • daekar
    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?
    Reply
  • stevejnb
    11036089 said:
    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.
    Reply
  • cirdecus
    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.
    Reply
  • mcd023
    Intel, you are doing very well! Can't even convince people to use the ARM cpu's!
    Reply
  • teh_chem
    Wonder if Office on RT will lag with the S800 (or Tegra4) like it did horribly with Tegra3.
    Reply
  • cirdecus
    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.
    Reply
  • GreaseMonkey_62
    Because the Surface RT is selling so well, they're going to build another one????
    Reply
  • Cau Trindade
    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
    Reply