One of the major challenges for Microsoft with Windows 8 is around power consumption. With modern tablets like the iPad we have got used to long batter life and I centrally don’t want to go back to the couple of hours my old Windows tablets could manage. In a post on the Building Windows 8 Blog Microsoft have talked about how they are architecting Windows 8 so that applications not currently visible are not talking battery power but still can communicate with background services. As with the other posts on the Windows 8 blog they delve into the details of the features and hopefully developers can make use of the optimisations so power consumption is at a minimum without loosing any features.
Minimizing the power consumption of your PC while maximizing the responsiveness and utility (making it “fast and fluid”), is a significant engineering challenge. While it starts with the work we do in Windows to provide support for the right level resource usage, this work requires developers to take resource utilization into account as they develop their apps. Power efficiency applies to all form factors and all usage scenarios—using less power is the right thing to do for everyone. This is an area of significant innovation for Windows 8 PCs, and builds on the foundation of the new runtime model in WinRT—it is not the sort of thing you can retrofit onto existing desktop applications while still maintaining functionality and compatibility. Much like state migration and setup that we talked about earlier, power consumption is an area of Windows that has been reimagined for new scenarios. With your existing x86-based PC, all of the existing support is still there, and all of the work you do on the desktop continues exactly as it has before (and of course, has been improved, as we have seen). As we see new hardware across all supported SoC hardware (including Intel) this level of power efficiency will be more broadly available. Though we will discuss some of the work we’ve done to improve the power consumption of desktop apps, to enable the all-day, always-connected scenarios we’re going to see new apps written to WinRT that run on a new generation of hardware that supports new power management capabilities.
Ian Dixon is a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional), founder of TheDigitalLifestyle.com tech site and producer of the weekly The Digital Lifestyle Show podcast. Ian has been writing and talking about Windows for over 10 years and has over 20 years in IT as an IT Manager. Ian has thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook and over 4 million views on his YouTube channel.