Windows 8 demos at Microsoft's BUILD conference did show USB 3.0 transfers that were far faster than USB 2.0 transfers. However, the demos did not compare the performance with that of USB 3.0 devices running on Windows 7 with a third-party driver.
Windows 8 will also include class drivers for other devices, such as printers, sensors, touch-input devices, and displays. A new human-interface device driver will support sensors for heat, light, temperature, pressure, current, and motion, according to Microsoft. This driver could support sensors beyond the norm, too, such as a blood-pressure monitor or a device that can sense when a glass is broken.
Much of Microsoft's pitch for Windows 8 has centered on its new visual style, called Metro, which is also used in Windows Phone 7 phones. That new design will even extend into device drivers. Gone are the drab gray and clunky dialog boxes of yesteryear. App drivers can now become part of the settings "charm," an icon in the right Windows 8 navigation panel.
Windows-certified devices, such as cameras, TVs, or printers, will launch the appropriate Metro-style app within the charms to allow sharing of data or other actions. This approach makes the driver feel like it's integrated into the Metro experience and will reportedly change how companies distribute, and how you update, drivers.
If, though, you opt to use the desktop interface and desktop apps, nothing has changed--the dialog boxes remain in all their primitive glory.