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Windows 8 Promises USB 3.0 Support for Better Battery-life and Power-consumption on Tablets and PCs

Steven Sinofsky in another new, detailed post, titled “Building robust USB 3.0 support” shared another tidbit about Windows 8: It will have USB 3.0 support.

The blog post authored by Dennis Flanagan, the Director of Program Management for the Devices and Networking group — explained the challenge.

“One of the important roles Windows plays as part of a broad ecosystem is developing support for new hardware. This is a pretty involved process and so for this post we wanted to take a look at supporting USB 3.0, something we know everyone is anxious to be using because of the improvements it brings. This is also our first video post – we aimed for “engineering” videos and not high production values but I think we make our point (note videos are embedded in HTML5 and available for download). If you’re like me when looking at the video, you might think that those file copy progress indicators are looking a bit dated…stay tuned.”

“Each and every USB device, low, full, high, and SuperSpeed, has to work in Windows 8,” he blogged.

“Our design had to follow the revised 3.0 specification precisely in order to enable emerging USB 3.0 hardware. There are also billions of older USB devices that Windows must remain compatible with. How do you write a single piece of software to enable the latest technology on evolving hardware, while making sure it still works with 10 billion existing devices in homes and offices across the world?” Flanagan noted.

USB 3.0 is up to 10 times faster than USB 2.0 provides “improved power management that results in longer battery life,”: Flanagan said. Additionally, “by 2015, all new PCs are expected to offer USB 3.0 ports, and over 2 billion new ‘SuperSpeed’ USB devices will be sold in that year alone,” he said.

Poor-to-middling battery life has been one of the problems holding back Windows 7 tablets. Tablets/slates are expected to be one of the key form factors targeted by Microsoft with Windows 8.

TechRadar’s Mary Branscombe noted last week that Microsoft also is likely working on a second service pack for Windows 7 simultaneously with developing Windows 8. Branscombe had USB 3.0 support on her SP2 wish list.

“Perhaps the most important aspect of USB 3.0 is the expectation that customers have of USB: it’s just USB3 so it should just work, right? Each and every USB device, low, full, high, and SuperSpeed, has to work in Windows 8. That’s our focus while also delivering the most robust and reliable USB stack,” noted Flanagan.

Let’s take a look at USB 3.0 in action as it takes on some pretty significant copy tasks and races against USB 2.0.

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