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 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.
Microsoft today revealed the new branding for its embedded operating system efforts:
Today at Embedded Systems Conference Silicon Valley 2008 in San Jose, Microsoft Corp. laid out the next phase in its strategy for the Windows Embedded Business, providing a strategic road map outlining the renaming of its family of products and plans for new solutions in key device categories. The new key device category solutions will be offered under the Windows Embedded Ready name and will ship as preconfigured toolkits providing device-makers with in-demand market-specific features that allow them to build and ship next-generation smart, connected, service-oriented devices in an accelerated fashion.
The first product release under the new naming strategy will be Windows Embedded Standard, the next generation of Windows XP Embedded, and will be launched simultaneously at Tech•Ed North America and through a global webcast event on June 3. All presently available Windows Embedded products will be marketed under their current names until their next scheduled product release and will remain available for purchase in line with the standard Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy. The Windows Embedded Ready product line for key device categories will include the next generation of Windows Embedded for Point of Service, Windows Embedded POSReady. The Windows Embedded Business plans to further detail its strategy for the Windows Embedded Ready products later this calendar year.
The Windows Embedded family of products includes the following:
• Windows Embedded Standard. The next generation of Windows XP Embedded. The next product release is currently forecast for 2008.
• Windows Embedded Compact. The next generation of Windows Embedded CE. The next product release is currently forecast for 2009.
• Windows Embedded Enterprise. A fully application-compatible embedded operating system that over time will gain a broader set of embedded enabling features. Today this product group is composed of Windows Vista and Windows XP for Embedded Systems and is licensed exclusively for embedded device development.
• Windows Embedded POSReady. The next generation of Windows Embedded for Point of Service. The next product release is currently forecast for 2009.
In case you are having trouble keeping up with the taxonomy, Windows Embedded CE is just the new name for Windows CE since version 6 was released. Windows Embedded CE in turn forms the basis for Windows Mobile. It is also interesting to see that embedded XP isn’t leaving any time soon, presumably because embedding Vista takes a lot of horsepower.