Windows 8 to help save you money when on the move

Windows 8 to help save you money when on the move

Summary: Microsoft has been busy innovating and has finally found a way to leapfrog over Apple's Mac OS X when it comes to mobile usability.

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I think that it's interesting the way that Microsoft is drip-feeding out information about Windows 8. Little tidbits here and there to get us excited about. I think that it's an interesting way of introducing new features to power users without overwhelming them or reducing everything to ultra-condensed bullet points.

The latest revelation is that Windows 8 will incorporate features that will help those making use of mobile broadband save money by adding features to prevent what Microsoft calls 'bill shock.'

With Windows 7 (and earlier version of Windows), the operating system treats a mobile broadband connection like any other connection, having no regard for things like data caps and over usage charges. It treats the connection like a standard broadband connection or a WiFi connection and sucks on the teat as hard as it can.

With Windows 8 this will change. Microsoft is making the operating system aware of the fact that you're on a connection that is likely to be capped, and going over that cap could start hitting you in the pocket. Not only that, but Windows will automatically shift you from a most costly mobile broadband connection to a cheaper WiFi connection if one is available. Additionally, Windows Updates won't be pushed down a mobile broadband connection unless you specifically ask for them (the only exception here is for critical updates to fix worm-like vulnerabilities - although again you will be able to defer the download if you want).

But wait, there's more!

One of the biggest problems with using a mobile broadband connection is not being able to know how much data you've consumed, and finding out what applications are sucking the hardest on the data teat. To allow users to get a good overview of data usage Windows 8 will have two very useful features. First, a simple data counter that tells you how much you've used.

Another feature is a new addition to the Windows Task Manager called App History that keeps a track of how much data (network and metered data) applications are using.

Another handy feature is the ability to mark WiFi networks as metered with a simple option available from the right-click.

There's also a simple smartphone-style 'Airplane mode' switch that turns off all the radios, as well as individual control over mobile broadband, WiFi and Bluetooth:

I have to admit that I like these features, I like them a lot. It seems to me that Microsoft has been busy innovating and has finally found a way to leapfrog over Apple's Mac OS X when it comes to mobile usability. In fact, some of these features would be welcomed on the iOS platform.

Good work Microsoft!

Topics: Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

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21 comments
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  • Not gonna lie

    This is the first set of Windows 8 features I'm ACTUALLY looking at and saying, "hrmmm...that looks pretty useful".

    Now as long as they allow me to forego the MetroUI as the start menu, we might have something.

    Joey
    voyager529
    • I can't disagree

      @voyager529 This is an impressive feature yet I see some people who develop similar apps now screaming about this. Now only if they found a way to have that talk to a router and figure out how much the router would use. I know that would require Microsoft to work with hardware manufacturers which is something that they haven't done well in the past. But that doesn't mean that they can't start.
      nucrash
      • RE: Windows 8 to help save you money when on the move

        @nucrash

        The router would use whatever the PC used?

        Unless you are suggesting you want how much every pc on the specified router has used together?
        danjames2012
      • Syslog and Netflow

        @nucrash

        Will show you that data. I'm not sure why Windows would need either capability.
        LiquidLearner
      • RE: Windows 8 to help save you money when on the move

        @nucrash
        There are network tools for logging router data so may want to go there and get your goodies. Microsoft is not going to waste time adding data from local networking gear, there are others to turn to if you really need that function. And I can bet you will be able to default to whatever you like, either Metro or the Classic. If not there is a very simple reg hack and no doubt someone will create a little app to take advantage of that reg hack. Problem solved!
        OhTheHumanity
    • RE: Windows 8 to help save you money when on the move

      @voyager529 I've been happy with the pieces that they have already implemented in the Developer Preview and must say that it works pretty well.

      As for the pooh pooh of the MetroUI, that is getting to be a pretty boring song. The MetroUI is actually pretty usable and I find that I like it. If it helps you, rename it from Start Screen to DASHBOARD. As for people who love to hang on to DOS and other pre-historic computer ideologies, I invite you to join us in the 21st Century.
      gomigomijunk
      • RE: Windows 8 to help save you money when on the move

        @gomigomijunk

        Well said.
        Blogsworth
  • Will it work reliably

    Like most other "features" in Windows it's doubtful this will work reliably all the time. And what happens when this meter is different than the carrier's meter?
    itguy10
    • RE: Windows 8 to help save you money when on the move

      @itguy10

      Don't like it don't use it?

      Once it would be nice to see you say "wow that is handy"

      As i can tell from the screenshot though, microsoft has outsmarted you by using the word "estimated"
      danjames2012
    • RE: Windows 8 to help save you money when on the move

      @itguy10
      Microsoft already stated that this meter is an "indication" of the bandwidth consumption and that this is not there to replace the carrier meter.
      TheCyberKnight
  • most people are ignorant of connectivity cost

    and those who care, are already using FOSS products.
    The Linux Geek
    • RE: Windows 8 to help save you money when on the move

      @The Linux Geek
      So you are saying only 1% of the world care about these features?
      danjames2012
    • RE: Windows 8 to help save you money when on the move

      @The Linux Geek

      I'm sure both of you are really happy - see masochism works1 ;-)
      tonymcs1
  • Option to stop Internet access from specific processes?

    Reporting the information is GREAT, but is there a simple way to pause or stop an application or process from accessing the Internet at all?
    Bruce Lang
    • If the application supports it

      @Bruce Lang

      Yes. But this requires app support from what I've read so far.
      LiquidLearner
  • RE: Windows 8 to help save you money when on the move

    My eyes lit up when I read about these features. Kudos to Microsoft for developing them. I can't wait to hear what the carriers are going to say about this, probably try to send their lobbying group to get these features removed.
    Loverock Davidson-
  • Nice, but obscure.

    Perhaps I'm in a minority, but I and my friends have never come close to maxing out broadband limits on mobile devices, and I consider myself a power user. Perhaps it's because we don't download videos on the road.
    tomogden
    • RE: Windows 8 to help save you money when on the move

      @tomogden

      If you have a 3gb limit, thats less than 2 hours of BBC iplayer. If you are connected to your wireless dongle rather than your wifi, or to both and it sent it through the dongle, doesn't take long to max it out.
      danjames2012
  • RE: Windows 8 to help save you money when on the move

    As long as people realize that Windows-8 is geared to tablets, these mechanism are useful. Since the editors of WinNews site have made it clear that tablets are not PCs, it becomes much clearer as to where Windows-8 fits into the scheme of things.
    TsarNikky
  • RE: Windows 8 to help save you money when on the move

    *
    ToonMoerman