Microsoft to provide USB 3.0 support for better battery life in Windows 8

Microsoft to provide USB 3.0 support for better battery life in Windows 8

Summary: Microsoft officials are promising USB 3.0 support will be part of Windows 8, which will help with battery-life and power-consumption on tablets and desktop PCs.


In another new, detailed post, Microsoft officials shared another tidbit about Windows 8: It will have USB 3.0 support.

The August 22 to the "Building Windows 8" blog -- authored by Dennis Flanagan, the Director of Program Management for the Devices and Networking group -- explained the challenge.

"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.

Microsoft Windows chief Steven Sinofsky kicked off the Building Windows 8 blog last week, and shared a list of the 35 feature teams working on Windows 8 client and server. Microsoft is expected to provide attendees of its Build developer conference in mid-September with early Windows 8 bits to test, though Microsoft managers have not stated that publicly. Microsoft is expected to release to manufacturing its Windows 8 code in early-to-mid 2012, enabling Windows 8 PCs and tablets to be on the market by holiday 2012.

Microsoft still has not revealed a session list or list of speakers/keynotes for the Anaheim, Calif., conference. We do know (because of their respective disclosures) who two of the Build speakers will be. One is with the File Server team; the other is a Windows Azure/identity expert at the company.

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.

Topics: Operating Systems, Hardware, Microsoft, Software, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Fix the USB compatibility issues

    I notice the driver compatibility between 64 bit versions of Windows is very poor. For instance, my USB modem works great in Windows Vista 64 bit, but it does not in Windows 7 64 bit. Wouldn't expect that considering that they share the same driver model. On top reading that its the same class driver that the team has built on since Windows 95 OSR2.
  • Ok so how exactly is USB 3.0 going to help with better battery life?

    None of the standard battery tests take into account the peripherals connected to the system under test.
    • RE: Microsoft to provide USB 3.0 support for better battery life in Windows 8

      @iamravg - Because the USB3 spec provides for much more power to be delivered via the socket, devices can draw the power they need and then be shut off rather than just continually trickle-draining the host's power.

      USB3 also allows for much more aggressive connection/disconnection so the host machine's OS can stay connected only when actually necessary.
  • Two more build speakers

    Looks like Phil Haack and Damian Edwards will also be there, for some web flavor (probably).!/haacked/status/106228370039250944
  • RE: Microsoft to provide USB 3.0 support for better battery life in Windows 8

    I'm curious: Do any other Operating Systems offer USB 3.0 support out of the box today?
  • RE: Microsoft to provide USB 3.0 support for better battery life in Windows 8

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