New Surface 2 models with LTE connectivity will be announced early next year alongside 7.5-inch Surface Mini nearly identical to the Apple tablet.
Panos Panay, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft, confirmed that A LTE version of Surface 2 would be announced in 2014.
During the session AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit, Panay and the Surface team have provided interesting information on new devices and their future plans. Users had many different questions, but not all of them had been answered.
Responding to a question from a user, the Microsoft executive didn’t specify whether both tablets will come with 4G LTE connectivity or not. But, this feature will increase the price certainly, though it would be too early to assume anything.
Here is a summary of the most important information provided during the AMA session:
- The power connector has been redesigned for ease of insertion. The LED is now visible from all angles.
- The Stylus Pro also works with the Surface 2 and Surface Pro, and the old chargers are also compatible with the new tablets.
- The Surface Pro 2 supports Miracast.
- The docking station recharges Surface Pro
- The current Touch Cover will remain on sale for $79.00
- The Surface Pro 2 still integrates a fan, but it is quieter.
- Both Surface 2 and Pro 2 support Digital Dolby sound.
Concerning the free space, Microsoft has clarified that the buyers of the Surface 2 32GB and 64GB model will have 18GB and 47 GB for applications (Outlook 2013 RT will be pre-installed with Office 2013 RT suite) and data, respectively. Whereas, in the Surface Pro 2, 64GB and 128GB model will have 37GB and 97GB of free space. For both, Users can create a recovery USB pen drive and delete the partition to get more space.
Moreover, Panay and the Surface team didn’t want to talk about a smaller-screen tablet except the LTE variant of Surface 2, coming in 2014. However, the rumors suggest that Microsoft is also preparing 7.5-inch Windows RT tablet at the same time, which some reports claim will be named the Surface Mini.
The Surface Mini is expected to have a 7.5-inch ClearType HD display with 4:3 aspect ratio, while other specifications will be identical to Apple iPad Mini. There are still doubts about the screen resolution because NPD DisplaySearch and IHS iSuppli predict 1400×1050 pixels while The Verge has reported having 1440×1080 pixels supported by Windows 8.1 dev tools.
The tablet will be based on ARM architecture, running Windows RT 8.1, and the Redmond engineers could choose a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC. There would be a LTE variant of Surface Mini too.
Surface RT didn’t success as expected; therefore Surface Mini will have the difficult task of attracting consumers to an uncommon platform. Meanwhile, Apple is gearing up for the launch of the iPad Mini 2 with Retina display, which will probably retain the same price as the current model.