- A new FCC filing from Microsoft has just been released
- The reports are for testing 4G LTE, 5G and Bluetooth radiation in a “portable computing device”.
- Previous reports from Windows Central indicate that it is the new “Surface Pro 9 5G” which is based on an ARM processor
Historically, Microsoft Surface launch events have ranged from September to November, and this year is likely to be no different. On the Windows Central PodcastSenior Editor Zac Bowden hears about an update to the Surface Laptop 5, new Surface Studio 3 and Surface Pro 9.
It is the last device that is of interest to us today.
There are 21 filings for a new Microsoft device under FCC list C3K1997 that have been spotted by a Twitter user @lilputingnews. While most of the exciting information will be kept confidential for 180 days, some bits and pieces in the hundreds of pages of reports suggest it’s a new 5G Surface Pro.
The most important clues are the many references to the tested device in “tablet mode” and a notation stating: “This device includes the following features: 850/1900 GSM/GPRS/EDGE, 850/1900 WCDMA/HSPA, Multi- Band LTE, Multiband 5G NR, 802.11b/g/n/ax WLAN, 802.11a/n/ac/ax UNII (5GHz), Bluetooth (1x, EDR, LE).”
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None of the tests relate to head-to-head radiation or use of the device as a phone, as they are all pure data streams only.
The strangest tidbit relates to Qualcomm’s Smart Transmit algorithm, which “performs time averaging…in real time to control and manage transmit power to ensure time-averaged RF exposure meets FCC requirements at all times.” This function is used for 4G LTE and 5G during simultaneous transmission.
Most (if not all) Intel-based laptops with 5G capabilities use Intel-based 5G (or Fibocom) modems such as the Intel 5G Solution 5000 due to competitive pricing and better inter-functionality (as well as Intel’s disdain for committing to Qualcomm to leave). ).
A Qualcomm-based 5G radio is very revealing.
“Surface Pro 9” 5G allegedly ARM-based
Recent reports from Zac Bowden claim that Microsoft is effectively merging Surface Pro X with “Surface Pro 9” this fall.
While most of the new Surface Pros will be based on 12th Gen Intel Core CPUs (possibly the P series), at least the 5G model will be based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3, likely with performance improvements and as Microsoft’s new SQ3 processor designated .
While it’s tempting to lean on these new FCC filings as evidence of a new Surface Duo 3, none of the tests reference cellphone calls, and more importantly, our procurement claims a new Surface Duo is only just around the corner will be no later than autumn 2023.
Microsoft has been pushing Windows on ARM heavily this year. The company will release its first Windows on ARM desktop PC in the form of a developer kit, dubbed Project Volterra. According to Zac Bowden, this PC is powered by the Snapdragon 8cx Gen3 SoC and includes the same AI capabilities and Neural Processing Unit (NPU) performance expected in the Surface Pro 9 with ARM.
Expectations for the Surface Pro 9 case include further rounding of the edges, a thinner profile, and possibly moving the Type-C ports to the left while keeping the Surface Connect on the right. This layout mirrors the Surface Pro X, except even the ARM-based Surface Pro 9 is said to have venting near the top like the Intel-based systems (but probably no fan).
A 5G-enabled Surface Pro 9 will be Microsoft’s first 5G non-phone device. The company has been more conservative than other OEMs in providing high-speed cellular access for Windows PCs, many of which launched nearly two years ago.
While offering two chips in one device might seem unusual, Microsoft has been offering buyers an option for AMD and Intel processors in the Surface laptop line for a number of years. Merging an ARM-based chip with the premium Surface Pro Non-X lineup is a big step in normalizing Windows on ARM as a legitimate alternative to x86-based processors.
Microsoft is expected to launch the Surface Pro 9 along with a new Surface Studio and Surface Laptop in the next few weeks. Of course, by the time these devices are announced, those plans could change.
Thanks @spaceOranger for the tip!