Microsoft's promised Surface 2 with integrated Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile broadband looks to be just around the corner, with leaks pointing to an impending launch - in the US, at least.
Microsoft's original entries into the tablet market, the Surface RT and Surface Pro, didn't prove to be great successes. Beset by hardware and software flaws
and a price that put them up against the very best the competition had to offer, the tablets were a major loss-maker
for the company. That didn't stop the launch of second-generation models
which proved significantly more popular
, while still leaving the company and its operating systems with a tiny share of the overall tablet market.
In September last year, Microsoft's Panos Panay suggested in a Reddit thread
that the company was planning to close the feature gap between the Surface family and the competition with the launch of a model featuring in-built high-speed mobile broadband in early 2014. With 'early 2014' rapidly passing, there has been no official announcement of such a beast - but leaked images supplied to WP Central
suggest that the launch is just around the corner.
According to the site's unnamed source, Microsoft Stores in the US have begun receiving stock of the LTE-enabled Surface 2, based on the company's ARM-compatible Windows RT operating system. These devices are designed for use on the AT&T mobile network, although it's not yet clear whether they will be unlocked and compatible with rival providers. With no official word from Microsoft, it's also not clear how long it will take for the device to make its way to the UK; the Surface Pro, for comparison, took a laggardly seven months to make the same trip.
While Microsoft isn't willing to talk about the Surface 2 Pro with LTE just yet, it has finally announced the release of the Surface Power Cover. A keyboard add-on with built-in battery, and designed to give the Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2 or Surface 2 a 70 per cent boost in run time per charge, the accessory is due to ship on the 19th of March in the US at $199.99. Again, however, no UK pricing or availability information has been provided.