The original version of the Surface RT used Nvidia’s Tegra 3 processor, but new information indicates that Microsoft will switch to Qualcomm’s range of processors in the near future. That’s according to reports from Bloomberg and The Verge, who both say that Microsoft is poised to make the switch when it announces new versions of the Surface in the very near future.
According to Bloomberg, Microsoft is adding Qualcomm into the mix in order to take advantage of LTE capabilities. Nvidia’s latest processor, the Tegra 4i, does have an LTE modem onboard, but the chip has only found its way into prototypes so far. It makes sense that Microsoft would want to switch to Qualcomm, then, in order to satisfy demand for LTE.
The Verge, meanwhile, reports that Microsoft has been testing Surface RT tablets running Windows 8.1 along with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor. That’s the latest chip in Qualcomm’s range, boasting impressive speeds over the Snapdragon 600 currently being used in devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One.
Previous reports have suggested that Microsoft would unveil next-generation Surface units at its upcoming Build developer conference on June 26th. In addition to using Qualcomm processors, Microsoft may introduce Surface tablets in different sizes, most notably in the 7- to 8-inch range in response to the popularity of the form factor. You need only look at the iPad mini and Nexus 7 to see why, and we’ve already seen Acer step up to the plate with the Iconia W3. We’ll find out exactly what Microsoft has planned next week, but new, smaller Surface tablets seems like a safe bet at this point.