Today at electronicaUSA with the Embedded Systems Conference, Microsoft Corp. announced a Technology Preview Kit for Windows CE 5.0, previously code-named “Macallan.” Leveraging extensive feedback from customers, the final version of Microsoft® Windows CE 5.0 will focus on increasing developer productivity through a variety of new features and enhancements including increased out-of-the-box hardware support, security enhancements, advanced multimedia capabilities and automated testing tools. The wide range of functionality will enable original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to build more exciting and compelling devices and bring them to market more quickly.
More than 60 industry-leading OEMs, silicon vendors and solution integrators are already working on solutions for Windows CE 5.0 as part of Microsoft’s Joint Development Partner program. Some of these companies include industry leaders such as Biostar Group, Costron Corp., Humax Co. Ltd., InFocus Corp., Intel Corp., Intermec Technologies Corp., LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Tcom&Dtvro Co. Ltd and ViewSonic Corp.
“The next version of Windows CE will deliver new componentized technology that will help customers save time in the development process and will enable a wide range of innovative devices, from gateways and gaming devices to set-top-boxes,” said Ya-Qin Zhang, corporate vice president of the Mobile and Embedded Devices Division at Microsoft. “This release is an important milestone for Windows CE because it reflects ongoing feedback we’ve received from customers to enable them to build embedded devices even more quickly.”
Saving Device-Development Time
Windows CE 5.0 is designed to help developers reduce development time and costs when building small-footprint, connected devices. Customers said they wanted the ability to switch easily between the Windows CE graphical integrated development environment (IDE) and command-line environments to more quickly build devices with a wide range of functionality. The new Windows CE 5.0 development environment enables developers to take advantage of the capabilities of the command line in the graphical IDE, which will decrease operating system image development time and speed time to market.
“Unifying the tools capabilities is a brilliant move for Windows CE. Being able to work in one unified development environment where you only need to use that one toolset for building, debugging and deploying an operating system image will save OEMs a lot of time by reducing complex development issues,” said Doug Boling of Boling Consulting, an embedded consultant and training firm for corporations. “All the benefits of the command line are now exposed through the graphical IDE, making the Windows CE tools extremely easy to use. This significantly increases the productivity of development teams so they can focus on creating unique end user experiences.”
Microsoft also has dramatically increased support for widely available embedded hardware with more than 50 production-quality drivers individually optimized for leading chipsets, such as ARM, MIPS, SuperH and x86, enabling OEMs to use the drivers right out of the box rather than having to customize them for a particular hardware platform.
“InFocus recognizes Microsoft’s market leadership and consistent capability in delivering robust embedded operating system platforms,” said David Woolf, director of Worldwide Product Management at InFocus. “Windows CE 5.0 provides the best collection of technology, tools and resources to enable InFocus’ continued product innovation. We are delighted to partner with Microsoft to deliver exciting user experiences with emerging wireless display applications.”
Windows CE 5.0 is a hard, real-time operating system that provides OEMs with a reliable foundation and integrated core operating system components for developing a broad range of devices, from consumer electronics to headless devices. Windows CE 5.0 will ship with all components automatically set to the highest possible security setting while providing developers with complete flexibility to modify the security setting as needed for their unique design. A powerful new capability, Windows Error Reporting, enables quality and performance monitoring for in-field devices so OEMs can continually improve and update devices they have already deployed. In addition, an enhanced Windows CE Test Kit provides comprehensive automated testing tools to improve device stability and reliability.
“We are pleased with the proactive steps that Microsoft is taking to further enhance the reliability of and security for embedded devices with the upcoming release of Windows CE 5.0,” said Richard Mahany, vice president of Product Marketing and Development at Intermec Technologies. “The new security features will shorten our custom development time, and the error reporting technologies will provide us with customer usage data to further improve our products over time.”
New multimedia capabilities will enable developers to create applications and services that will differentiate their devices in the marketplace. Windows CE 5.0 will include support for Direct3D® Mobile, a Component Object Model (COM)-based programming model and graphics solution built on Microsoft’s desktop technology, DirectX®. By including support for Direct3D Mobile, Windows CE devices can now support even richer, higher-performance graphics and multimedia, similar to a desktop experience, on small-footprint devices. In addition, enhanced multimedia features, such as Fast Start, dramatically decrease playback start time for multimedia content such as movies on a range of devices including Internet Protocol (IP) set-top boxes.
“Intel has enabled a new generation of rich multimedia and gaming capabilities for D3DMobile utilizing Intel XScale® technology with Wireless MMX instructions,” said Mark Casey, director of Marketing for the Cellular and Handheld Group at Intel. “Working closely with Microsoft to integrate these enhancements into D3DMobile, developers and OEMs will be able to deploy a new generation of compelling 3-D applications while meeting the battery life and small size requirements of mobile devices.”
Windows CE 5.0 Technology Preview
Technology Preview kits for Windows CE 5.0 will be provided to attendees visiting the Microsoft booth at electronicaUSA with the Embedded Systems Conference. The preview will also be available for download at the Windows Embedded Web site at http://msdn.microsoft.com/embedded/April 1. The final product is scheduled to be available during summer 2004.
About Windows CE
Windows CE 5.0 will be Microsoft’s newest and most advanced real-time embedded operating system for rapidly creating the next generation of 32-bit smart, connected and small-footprint devices such as consumer electronics, gateways, industrial controllers, mobile handheld devices, IP set-top boxes, VoIP phones and thin clients. Building on the reliable foundation of previous versions of Windows CE, new technologies included in the upcoming release enable platform developers to unleash their innovation through rich multimedia capabilities, increase their productivity and deliver reliable devices. More information can be found at http://msdn.microsoft.com/embedded/.