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.
Windows CE 6.0 was released to manufacturing on September 15 without much fanfare, which is too bad since it is the basis for the upcoming Crossbow release of Windows Mobile and the latter has been making inroads in the cell phone business. Now Microsoft’s Mike Hall reports that the formal launch date is November 1, 2006 and you can get more details at the launch event website. They’ll also be covering Windows XP Embedded SP2 Feature Pack 2007 .
Just last month I was grousing that yesterday’s end of support for Windows 98 would be the perfect time to roll out Microsoft’s planned Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs (codename Eiger), except that it had reportedly been delayed until later in the year. That delay seems to have vanished suddenly:
Microsoft Windows® Fundamentals for Legacy PCs is now available to Software Assurance customers. Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs extends the security and stability of Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 to legacy PCs and eases the transition to Windows Vista™ Enterprise.
This isn’t exactly a money maker, but more of a snappy answer to complaints from business users about the demise of Windows 98 although it clearly has limited applicability:
Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs is not a general-purpose operating system. It is designed to work with the Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection client or third-party clients such as the Citrix ICA client. In addition, it allows for a limited number of workloads to be executed locally, including security software, management software, terminal emulation software, document viewers, and the .NET Framework.