NewsMicrosoft Plans to Support USB 3.0 in Windows 8
The company is tasked with supporting the emerging USB 3.0 technology while also trying to stay compatible with its earlier USB software efforts.
Microsoft announced on Monday that it expects the Windows 8 operating system to support emerging Universal Serial Bus 3.0 (USB 3.0) technologies.
USB 3.0 is a high-speed interface specification for data transfer between devices, promising data transfer rates of up to 4.7 Gbps, or about 10 times the speed of the current USB 2.0 standard. The technology is also called "SuperSpeed USB."
Dennis Flanagan, Microsoft's director of program management for the Devices and Networking group, explained in the Building Windows 8 blog how Microsoft approached engineering issues on emerging USB 3.0 technology while also trying to stay compatible with Microsoft's earlier USB software efforts.
Flanagan didn't exactly promise that new PCs running Windows 8 would support USB 3.0. However, since Windows 8 is estimated to arrive in mid-2012 or 2013 sometime, the timeline for delivery seems about right.
Intel released important technical specs for USB 3.0 in August of 2008 as part of a USB Promoter Group. That technical group also included the efforts of AMD, HP, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, Nvidia, NXP Semiconductors, Texas Instruments and Via Technologies. Since that time, it had been a race to market by hardware vendors. At the January Computer Electronics Show this year, the first certified USB 3.0 products were announced.
Microsoft, for its part, collaborated with hardware partners on the USB 3.0 designs. An in-house device called the "Microsoft USB Test Tool" (MUTT) was created to simulate device behaviors and test USB 3.0 compatibility. According to Microsoft's blog, MUTT is representative of about "1,000 devices on a USB thumb drive." Later, Microsoft shared MUTT with its hardware partners, the blog indicated.
Such a massive degree of testing was indicated because USB 3.0 is designed to be backward compatible across earlier USB 2.0 and USB 1.0 specifications.
"Our customers have grown accustomed to expecting new version of Windows to work with their existing devices and drivers," explained Flanagan in the blog, adding that Microsoft was extending that commitment across Windows 8.