Windows CE

Microsoft officially entered the embedded marketplace in November of 1996 with the release of Windows CE 1.0. Windows CE was designed from the ground up to provide embedded developers with the ability to extend the sophisticated software environment of today’s personal computer into the embedded world, according to Craig Mundie, then Senior VP of the Consumer Platforms Division at Microsoft. Windows CE originally was developed for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) building small, resource constrained—primarily handheld and Personal Information Manager (PIM) devices. Windows CE saw significant improvements with subsequent versions of the embedded operating system, including a simplified, wizard-based operating system configuration, export software development kits (SDKs) to enable application development, multimedia support with version 2.12, and enhanced Internet capabilities and support for hard real time with Windows CE 3.0. Now in its fourth generation, Windows CE offers a time-tested and sophisticated feature set consisting of the latest technologies for developers that create smart-mobile and small-footprint devices.

In developing Windows CE, the embedded development team focused on four key areas: the first was providing scalable wireless technologies to flexibly connect mobile devices; the second was providing reliable, core operating system services for demanding real-time designs; the third was enabling rich personalized experiences that span devices, PCs, Servers and Web Services; and the fourth was delivering a rich, easy-to-use, end-to-end tool set. Based on these design goals, Windows CE has been optimized for the next generation of smart, connected devices requiring rich networking, hard real time, smaller footprints, as well as rich multimedia and Web browsing.

The enhanced end-to-end tools included with Windows CE ensure that you can rapidly build smart designs running rich applications on the latest hardware. Windows CE also includes emulation technology to enable developers to perform their development and testing using a Windows 2000 or Windows XP Professional workstation without additional hardware investment.

Windows CE has been optimized for mobile devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), Smart Phones, Web pads as well as set-top boxes and residential gateways, among others. Devices such as these, built on Windows CE, enable users to remotely authenticate, authorize, administer, and update new applications and operating system services. With broad wireless support for personal area networks (PANs), local area networks (LANs), and wide area networks (WANs)—including Bluetooth and 802.11—an embedded device can stay connected anywhere, anytime. In addition, data produced, consumed, stored and transmitted by these devices stays secure with either local or network security.

Windows CE also offers reliable core operating system services to support the most demanding real-time embedded designs across a breadth of devices. For example, embedded developers can now enable low-latency, bounded, deterministic system performance with hard real-time operating system (RTOS) kernel support. The Windows CE platforms real-time performance has been validated in a variety of factory-floor implementations. With support for the .NET Compact Framework, Extensible Markup Language (XML), Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Passport and Instant Messaging, Windows CE enables embedded developers to easily create rich personalized experiences that span devices, PCs, Servers and Web Services. This support, combined with the rich multimedia and Web browsing capabilities in Windows CE, results in smart .NET-enabled devices.

With support for the .NET Compact Framework, Extensible Markup Language (XML), Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Passport and Instant Messaging, Windows CE enables embedded developers to easily create rich personalized experiences that span devices, PCs, Servers and Web Services. This support, combined with the rich multimedia and Web browsing capabilities in Windows CE, results in smart .NET-enabled devices.

More info »