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FAQ


What is the essence of the Soul Concept?

The essence of our concept is:

1. To combine the battery, the storage with OS and the wireless module into one small gadget.
2. To provide the ability for computer devices to establish a secured wireless connection with this gadget before the OS loads and then to load the OS from this gadget.
3. Thus, this gives the opportunity to use the single OS and data set on any computer device in a simple and natural manner.     
         
This gadget/technology can be integrated onto smartphones. They already include the battery, storage and Wi-Fi module.
Alternatively, it can be integrated into wearable devices like smartwatches or smartbands.

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Is this a project of Microsoft Corporation?

We have no affiliation with Microsoft Corp. Microsoft was used as an illustrative example of a company that is able to bring the concept to life. “Microsoft”, "Windows", "Skype" are registered Trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

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Why was Microsoft chosen as an example?

What type of wireless communication can be used?

We suggest using an ordinary Wi-Fi connection:

  • It is widespread. Wi-Fi is the most used wireless connectivity technology in the world today. It can be found on almost every computer device.
  • It has a good performance.
  • It can be secure.

Alternatively, any other type of connection can be used (e.g., wireless USB, Bluetooth, or any other).

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Is wireless network speed comparable to hard disk drive speed?

Today, the speed of data transmission over wireless network is comparable with the speed of reading data from HDD.


Over the last years, the speed of wireless data transmission has grown much faster than the speed of storage interfaces.


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What are the requirements for host computer?

Host computer that will be used in conjunction with Microsoft Soul device must meet the following requirements:

  • compatible platform (processor)
  • display and input devices (touchscreen, keyboard/mouse, etc.)
  • BIOS/UEFI that provides the ability to boot operating system over wireless channel
  • compatible wireless module

Practically any contemporary computer is compatible with Microsoft Soul (only software/firmware modifications are required).
The only necessary change is BIOS/UEFI that provides the ability to boot operating systems over a wireless channel. Furthermore, most modern PCs already support booting from a wired network. Moreover, any host computer can be simultaneously compatible with our technology and be self-sufficient i.e. to able to function in a traditional way. For example, during a system start-up your PC can give the option to boot the OS from the Microsoft Soul device.

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How can Microsoft Soul support host computers with such different configurations?

Another good thing about Microsoft Soul is that it can be built on already existing and proven technologies.
  • The booting on multiple computers can be implemented similar to Windows To Go - a new feature for enterprise users of Windows 8 and Windows 10 that enables users to boot a full version of Windows from external USB drives on host PCs.
    When Microsoft Soul OS is first booted on a new host computer, it will detect all hardware on this computer and install needed drivers. Microsoft Soul will be able to identify the host computers and use the correct set of drivers automatically.
  • Windows 10 is designed to work in a consistent way for screens of different sizes across phones, tablets, laptops, and desktop monitors. Obviously, Microsoft Soul can inherit the advantages of modern Windows and adapt to the device type, screen size and input methods in Continuum-like style.

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Is it possible to support both x86 and ARM architectures?

  • Windows 10 and Windows apps already support both x86 and ARM architectures. The Microsoft Soul Device can be actually shipped with kernels for both these architectures. The appropriate kernel will be used automatically, depending on the connected host device. This behavior will be completely transparent for the user.
  • Alternatively, modern energy efficient x86 SoCs & CPUs give the ability to use the same x86 OS on the smartphone as well as on other host computers.

Can host computer be compatible with Microsoft Soul device without firmware upgrade?

All existing computers can be compatible with Microsoft Soul even without the firmware upgrade.
The Microsoft Soul device can be equipped with one or more miniature USB dongles that provides a pre-set wireless communication with this device.
For the host computer this USB dongle will be recognized and work as a usual USB flash drive with the OS. Any host computer can be booted through this USB dongle in the same way as from an ordinary USB flash drive. The only one thing the customer has to do is to insert the USB dongle into his computer and to change the boot order to a USB flash drive in BIOS.

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How to improve performance?

Since all the program code runs on the host computer, its hardware power is fully utilized.
For the purpose of increasing read access speed, the host computer's storage can be used for caching. Generally, algorithm of its functioning can be as follows:

  • When some piece of data is read from the Microsoft Soul main storage first time, it also gets into the cache.
  • The second and all subsequent readings of this data are performed from the cache.
  • OS maintains the file-checksums correspondence tables for the main storage as well as for every cache (from different host devices). When OS boots and discovers previous cache on the PC's storage, the checksum table of that cache is being compared against the reference one (from the main storage) to determine which data is still unchanged (and therefore the cached copy of that data can be used).
    The data writes are performed in write-through mode to ensure that Microsoft Soul main storage always contains the most actual data. The checksum tables are updated after changing/creating data as well.
  • If the OS discovers that Microsoft Soul device is connected to the power source, then more aggressive prefetching is performed and the changed/new data is being transferred to the cache during system idle time (and thus even before the first read attempt).

Obviously, the caching on the host computer's storage can be performed in conjunction with Windows memory caching and rely on Prefetch/SuperFetch prediction schemes as well.

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How to optimize energy consumption?

  • Since there is need for only a 1-2 meters' range, the transmission power can be adjusted to improve power-saving.
  • There is no display activity nor near-zero CPU/graphics load on the Microsoft Soul device during work.
  • Energy-efficient storage like eMMC flash memory which is used in most contemporary tablet PCs will also help to save battery power.
  • The amount of transmitted data can be reduced by using the intelligent caching on the host storage devices.

How can security be achieved?


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How to add/replace host device?

Adding a new compatible host device is fairly simple for the customer:

  • You turn on the new computer/tablet/console/etc
  • It presents you with an option "Press F9 to use Microsoft Soul with this device", for example.
  • After pressing F9, user performs authorization process (by entering the same passcode on both devices, or using NFC if available), then OS boots and automatically installs drivers for new hardware.
  • That's it. From a user experience standpoint, all the subsequent bootings into Microsoft Soul on this host device are performed absolutely transparent (like booting from internal HDD).

In case the new host computer is not yet compatible with Microsoft Soul technology, user can simply insert special USB dongle and change the boot order in BIOS/UEFI. He even does not need to authorize devices because his Soul device and the dongle are preconfigured by manufacturer for secure communication.
Computer replacement (in case of hardware failure or just buying a new one, for example) is equally simple. All you need is to connect the Microsoft Soul device to the new computer, and you will get all your usual environment on the new device.

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What if the device with Microsoft Soul breaks down?

  • Obviously, in case of breakage of Microsoft Soul device, it becomes impossible to work with Microsoft Soul on all host devices. However, it has no effect, of course, on their autonomous functioning.
  • Due to the fact that Microsoft Soul frequently connects and works with various host devices (that have their own storage drives), it is much easier to organize regular automatic backup to these drives.

How to make/receive a phone call while working at the PC?

  • Let's say user gets a phone call while working at his PC/laptop/tablet. He receives a notification on his PC screen and he can answer a call using microphone and loudspeakers of his PC/laptop/tablet.
  • Alternatively, user can answer a call traditionally (using his mobile phone). This is possible because the speaker and microphone of mobile phone are recognised by Microsoft Soul OS as ordinary wireless headset.
  • This kind of flexibility is achieved thanks to the fact that internal components of the mobile phone (including microphone, sensors, GSM module and even display) can be recognised and used by Microsoft Soul OS as external devices, independently on which host Microsoft Soul OS is running.

Can Microsoft Soul work simultaneously and parallelly on several host devices?

  • Yes and no. It is implementation-dependent. Initially, we propose a simpler scheme in which only one host device is running Microsoft Soul OS at the same time, and others are connected to Microsoft Soul as external devices (in the example with the mobile phone, it is connected/recognized as a headset).
  • However, using clustered file system on the Microsoft Soul device's storage, it is possible also to implement full-fledged parallel work of several host systems.

Is it necessary to store all the data on the Microsoft Soul device?

Today, smartphones and other portable devices can have storage capacity of 32 - 128GB. This is enough to place a full OS, office software suites and documents. Also, please pay attention to the following two aspects:

  • Storage capacity of modern devices is increasing rapidly.
  • While using Microsoft Soul, the user is able to work with host device's storage as with external storage drive. This means that the user can, for example, install large-size games only on his gaming computer's hard drive, while using Microsoft Soul.

Why is the Microsoft Soul the most flexible hybrid device ever made?

With Microsoft Soul you are not limited to a hardware and form-factor choice. You can get any combination. For example, phone-desktop or laptop-tablet-tv combination. You can add any device to your ecosystem and use it with the maximum efficiency.

Moreover, unlike existing hybrid devices, Microsoft Soul gives you much more flexibility in terms of performance. For example, while it is in smartphone mode, it uses the phone’s CPU and RAM. Once it gets connected to a desktop, it starts using much more powerful desktop hardware.

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Who are the authors of Soul Concept?

This concept is created by Artem Bohdan and Ievgen Krutov, the independent IT enthusiasts team.

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How to contact the authors?

Please visit www.simpleway.ie.

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