Microsoft's Windows 8 will tweak its power-management capabilities beyond Windows 7, with an eye toward providing an optimal tablet experience.
revealed some details about Windows 8's power management.
every company aims to tweak successive generations of its products. Windows 7
offered a reduction in power use over Windows XP. However, if everything goes
according to Microsoft's plans, Windows 8 will eventually appear on a variety of
consumer-centric tablets-a relatively unexplored market for the company, and
one with its own set of demands. Chief among them: power efficiency. Nobody
likes it when his or her tablet dies after two hours of sustained use.
In a fairly
radical change from previous editions of the operating system, Windows 8 will
offer a start screen of colorful, touchable tiles linked to applications. This
serves the tablet side of the equation; in addition, the platform includes the
ability to flip to a "traditional" desktop interface familiar to anyone who's
used Windows before.
According to a
Nov. 8 post on Microsoft's official Building Windows 8
blog, Windows 8 (due to roll
out in 2012) will tweak its software for power consumption in three ways: "The
Metro style app model, idle hygiene, and a new runtime device power-management
words, Microsoft claims its Metro style application model-the one driving those
touch-friendly applications-is designed from the ground up for power
efficiency, with the ability to suspend background applications in order to
save battery power.
constitutes what Microsoft calls "improvements in idle activity," increasing
the time of idle states. Meanwhile, Microsoft's revamped device power
framework integrates the hardware's power-management capabilities through a
driver known as Power Engine Plug-In (PEP).
"The PEP is
provided by the silicon manufacturer and knows all of the [system on a
chip]-specific power-management requirements," read the blog posting,
referencing the system-on-a-chip architecture that will power Windows 8 on a
percentage of tablets. "This allows device drivers like our USB host controller
or a keyboard driver to be built once, and still deliver optimal power
management on all platforms from SoC-based PCs to datacenter servers."
focus on power management hints at the effort the company will devote to
smaller and energy-hungry form factors when it comes time to release Windows 8.
BUILD conference, Microsoft offered attendees a Samsung-build tablet running a
developer preview of Windows 8. The 11.6-inch device featured SDK applications,
a "recovery environment," a dock to connect with a keyboard or dual monitor,
and a 64GB solid-state drive.
with optimal battery life and interoperability with Windows 7 applications,
Windows 8 tablets with that caliber of hardware could appeal to both casual
users who want a fast and versatile touch-screen, and IT pros who need such a
device to perform a wide variety of heavyweight functions.
is whether any device, no matter what its operating system, can possibly be all
things to all users. Apple decided to make the iPad a streamlined mobile
device, instead of larding the form-factor with all manner of ports and
hardware; it runs a variant of the iOS operating system that also powers the
company's iPhone. In a similar manner, most other manufacturers chasing the
tablet market decided to embrace Google's Android operating system, which
originally ran on smartphones.
companies that decided to build a tablet loaded with Windows 7, with an eye
toward offering a "desktop replacement" device, managed to gain a very small
audience within the enterprise but not widespread consumer adoption.
goal with Windows 8, obviously, is to build on that tiny core of business
customers while attracting large numbers of consumers. Achieving that goal, in
part, requires an operating system with optimal power
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