Windows 8 will feature USB 3.0 support, according to a new posting on the "Building Windows 8" blog.
Microsoft is offering up still more details about Windows 8,
its next-generation operating system reportedly due for release sometime in
The new details come courtesy of the company's "Building Windows 8"
launched a week ago. Windows 8 will feature "robust" USB 3.0 support, according
to the Aug. 22 posting
Sinofsky, president of Microsoft's Windows and Windows Live division.
"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 wrote. "The decision to invest in USB 3.0 was an easy one to make,
but doing so without compromising the existing USB ecosystem was a big
challenge to overcome." According to his count, Windows must remain compatible
with "billions of older USB devices," in turn offering a significant
"USB software is complex because it has to manage hubs and
devices while still dealing with any errors," he added. Internally, Microsoft's
teams began to tackle the issue by creating enormous flow charts and a code
generator capable of converting Visio diagrams into software. (Visio is a
Microsoft-built diagramming program.) The teams also utilized a proprietary tool,
known as Zing, in order to validate the software model. After that came the
inevitable rounds of testing.
"We also made a heavy investment in building a custom
tool-the Microsoft USB Test Tool (MUTT) to simulate a full range of device
behaviors that we'd observed over the years," Sinofsky concluded. "Over time,
we shared the MUTT with our hardware partners and they've used it to find and
correct problems in their devices before releasing."
Microsoft will likely reveal all sorts of details about
Windows 8 at this September's BUILD conference, as what will surely be a long
ramp-up to the platform's release.
In previous postings on the Windows 8 blog, Sinofsky has
offered a rundown of the 35 feature teams working on the operating system, as
well as the "features or areas" under development by those teams. He also spent
time defending the decision to abandon the "traditional" Windows desktop model
in favor of more colorful, Windows Phone-style tiles.
"So much has changed since Windows 95-the last time Windows
was significantly overhauled-when the -desktop' metaphor was established,"
Sinofsky wrote in the
inaugural Aug. 15 posting
. "Today, more than two out of three PCs are
mobile (laptops, netbooks, notebooks, tablets, slates, convertibles, etc.).
Nearly every PC is capable of wireless connectivity."
According to the feature list, Windows 8 will also feature
an app store of some sort. That could directly counter Apple's Mac App Store,
which lets users download applications to their desktop instead of having to
purchase boxed software. The presence of a Microsoft-branded app store would
also let Windows 8 on tablets compete on equal footing against rivals such as
the iPad (which offers access to Apple's App Store) and Android devices (which
include Android Marketplace).
Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter