Windows 8 to help save you money when on the move

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.

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!