One of Microsoft’s tidy little businesses that you don’t hear too much about is providing operating systems for retail point of sale devices. Today, they released a new version with a typical Microsoft elongated name – Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 which replaces the old Windows Embedded for Point of Service:
Today, at the National Retail Federation (NRF) Annual Convention & Expo, Microsoft Corp. announced the availability of the latest offering from its Windows Embedded Ready product line for key device categories, Windows Embedded POSReady 2009, the next generation of Windows Embedded for Point of Service (POS). Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 is Microsoft’s embedded operating system optimized for OEMs building POS solutions and enterprises using POS devices. This next-generation POS platform is a flexible operating system designed to seamlessly connect POS solutions with peripherals, servers and services.
In addition, the company announced strong growth momentum for Windows Embedded in the retail market. According to a recent report published by IHL Consulting Group Inc., Windows Embedded operating systems accounted for 36 percent of retail and hospitality POS shipments in North America in 2007.
There are more details on the enhancements at www.POSReady.com, but basically Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 provides an embedded OS for POS hardware and networks that has been updated to support all the "latest Microsoft technologies, including the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 with Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Internet Explorer 7, Windows Media Player 11, Microsoft Silverlight, Microsoft SQL Server Express and Microsoft Office Viewers."
Microsoft today announced the release of Service Pack 1 for Response Point, their embedded software for small business phone systems:
Today at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2008, Microsoft Corp. announced that Response Point Service Pack 1 (SP1) is now generally available. SP1 is a significant feature update to Microsoft Response Point, easy-to-use and -manage phone system software designed for small businesses with one to 50 employees. Current Response Point customers and partners in the U.S. and Canada can download SP1 for free at http://www.microsoft.com/responsepoint.
Response Point SP1 builds on the overall ease of version 1 and enables small businesses to immediately take advantage of powerful new features, including session initiation protocol (SIP) trunking for VoIP calling; click-to-call functionality for any contact using the Assistant software; a call history log; and the ability to select music for parked calls and hold time. SP1 is a simple, free download that takes a matter of minutes for a customer or partner to install.
Microsoft also welcomed Aastra as the third Response Point OEM. Uniden, which was one of the original 3 OEMs along with D-Link and Quanta when Response Point was announced, has apparently dropped out.
Microsoft today announced the availability of Windows Embedded NavReady 2009, which is a variant of Windows Embedded "designed specifically for OEMs building handheld portable navigation devices (PNDs)" more popularly known as GPS devices.
Windows Embedded NavReady 2009 delivers innovative technologies to help developers and OEMs quickly bring to market smart, connected, service-oriented PNDs that easily connect to online services, mobile phones using Bluetooth, Windows-based PCs and the Internet. Based on Windows Embedded CE, Windows Embedded NavReady 2009 builds upon a decade of experience and success that the Windows Embedded Business has achieved by helping developers and OEMs simplify the development, user experience and maintenance of their PND designs.
Frankly, this is a bit of a head scratcher, since the big 3 of standalone GPS devices (Garmin, TomTom, and MiTAC) have managed to saturate the market without any help from Microsoft and are now mostly worried about competition from GPS functionality added to other devices like cellphones, a notable example of which was Apple’s iPhone 3G which was announced last week. Notably, the only OEM mentioned in the announcement as a prospective customer for Windows Embedded NavReady 2009 is Mio Technology (a subsidiary of MiTAC who also has the NavMan brand) which apparently thinks there’s a pony in the connectivity options.
Microsoft today announced that a community technology preview (CTP) of XP-based Windows Embedded Standard 2009 is now available with customer shipment planned for 4Q08.
Featuring new technologies including Microsoft Silverlight, Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) 6.1, and Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, Windows Embedded Standard 2009 is designed to drive managed and secure thin clients, sophisticated point of service and kiosk devices requiring visually compelling user experiences, and smart networked multifunction printers that are easy to manage and connect with enterprise infrastructure. Windows Embedded Standard 2009 also includes componentized drivers for Intel Corporation’s latest x86 processor architectures [e.g. Intel Atom Processor - ed.], providing device makers with the flexibility to access the latest generation of hardware.
I am always intrigued by the Windows Embedded challenge of jamming increasingly amplitudinous Windows client operating systems into various gadgets since it seems like a neat piece of retro engineering if not a magic trick. If you aren’t familiar with the specifics of the family members, Microsoft has this concise overview chart.