The Windows 8 Capabilities I’m Excited About

Steven Sinofsky just blogged about Windows for the ARM processor architecture, but there are bits of the article that apply to any Windows 8 device. While I know that Windows 8 will run on every Windows 7 logo PC, I’m looking forward to new hardware and software solutions that take advantage of the new capabilities. Any developer can take advantages of these and build some pretty cool new applications for Windows. The ones I’m most exited about are (copied from Sinofsky’s blog):

  • Mobile broadband (MBB) class driver. By creating a class driver, we’ve made it much easier to add broadband capability to all Windows PCs. While WOA was a catalyst for this work, the entire ecosystem benefits.
  • GPS. Windows offers a location provider that can triangulate a PC’s location via Wi-Fi access points and a backing database. In addition, systems that have Mobile Broadband will also have integrated Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS, aka GPS in the US) receivers to provide accurate location while navigating outdoors. The location platform plays a pivotal role in optimizing for power and accuracy by choosing the right location data provider to use based on the precision requested by the application.
  • Sensors (accelerometer, rotation, gyro, compass, magnetometer). A recent post described Sensor Fusion and how we’ve added support for sensors in Windows. This work also applies across all SoC-based architectures and utilizes the HID over I2C protocol.
  • Bluetooth. WOA supports Bluetooth LE and the same profiles as Windows 8 on x86/64 and connectivity to the Bluetooth radio using low-power UART.
  • MTP over USB and IP. Windows on ARM provides users with the ability to connect their portable devices (like mobile phones, music players, cameras) to their systems using the Media Transfer Protocol (MTP). These MTP-compliant devices can connect over USB or IP by leveraging inbox Windows class drivers, and allow users to exchange data with their favorite Metro style apps.
  • Windows Update-based servicing. For all platform code (OS, drivers, system and device firmware), each WOA system will be serviced through Windows Update (WU), from top to bottom. We’ve added support in WU for securely and robustly updating the system firmware on WOA systems, as well as driver targeting, which means that each device will get the drivers that have been verified to work best with it.

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