An updated version of Microsoft's Surface 2 tablet will land in Microsoft and Best Buy retail stores in the US on 18 March. What's the difference with this model, you ask? It'll have built-in 4G LTE wireless networking.
Microsoft promised in October, when the Wi-Fi-only Surface 2 debuted, that it was developing a 4G LTE-capable variant - so an updated Surface 2 shouldn't come as too much of a surprise to most Windows RT 8.1 lovers. The 4G LTE Surface 2 offers 64GB of storage and will cost $679, which is $130 more than the non-LTE 64GB Surface 2, but it is still $150 less than Apple's 64GB iPad Air with 4G LTE.
Although it's unlocked, the 4G LTE Surface 2 is built for use with AT&T and supported by the US carrier's pre-paid and post-paid plans. That means Americans can pay $15 a month for 250MB of data or simply add the device to their AT&T smartphone's Mobile Share plan for an extra $10 a month. Microsoft hasn’t revealed whether an unlocked 4G LTE version of the Surface Pro 2 is in the works.
Apart from a new GSM micro-SIM card slot next to the volume toggle on the left edge, the 4G LTE Surface 2 will sport the same internal and external specs as the Wi-Fi-only version, including a NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor and 2GB of RAM. The Windows RT 8.1 tablet will also feature Microsoft Office 2013, which makes it an ideal productivity gadget with cellular on-the-go connectivity for students and business people.
Check out Pocket-lint's full review of the Microsoft Surface 2 review for more information, where we described the tablet as "thinner, lighter and faster" than the first Surface but still a "confusing prospect". The hardware itself wasn't the problem, we thought, but rather Window 8.1 RT. We called it the "lite" app-based version of Windows 8.1 and said it lacked the elegance of Android or iOS.
We've contacted Microsoft to see if the 4G LTE Surface 2 is landing outside of the US, as well as whether a new Surface Pro 2 is coming, and we'll update when more information is known.