At the Embedded Systems Conference, Microsoft Corp., the worldwide leader in embedded operating systems, today announced the release to manufacturing of Microsoft® Windows® CE .NET version 4.2, previously code-named “McKendric.” Windows CE .NET 4.2 combines Microsoft’s most advanced real-time operating system with powerful tools for rapidly creating the next generation of smart, connected and small-footprint devices. Windows CE .NET 4.2 adds new features for creating innovative solutions in gateway, voice over IP (VoIP) and set-top box (STB) devices along with faster performance and greater application compatibility for the wide range of consumer and commercial embedded devices in which Windows CE is used today. In addition, Microsoft announced that more than 60 companies participated in the Microsoft early development programs for Windows CE .NET 4.2, providing valuable customer feedback and at the same time kick-starting their own delivery of a wide range of devices and solutions based on the new operating system.
“Windows CE .NET 4.2 provides customers with the desired technology for implementing sophisticated voice, video and data functionality for next-generation devices. Customers are already taking advantage of the new feature sets found in Windows CE .NET 4.2 as they prepare to deliver new gateway, voice over IP and set-top box solutions. The positive response from industry leaders to Windows CE .NET 4.2 demonstrates it is in lock step with the evolution of the embedded software industry,” said Todd Warren, general manager of the Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group at Microsoft. “We’re very excited to see industry data rank us No. 1 in the embedded marketplace and will continue to improve our products and services along with our strong partner base to maintain this leadership position.”
Operating System Enhancements
Windows CE .NET 4.2 includes new features to create innovative solutions and deliver differentiated user experiences. These new features in Windows CE .NET 4.2 include the following:
Enhanced foundation. Improved security and kernel enhancements include a faster compression engine and flexible cache flushing. Windows CE .NET 4.2 also increases the number of lines of source code available in the box to over 2 million to assist developers with debugging and device bring up.
Innovative device solutions. New gateway, VoIP and STB features target the needs of device manufacturers to rapidly and effectively create compelling devices with communication, data and voice requirements. New features include support for Internet Protocol Firewall and Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP), Internet Protocol Security (IPsec), and the Telephony User Interface, which provides a fully integrated and telephony-specific graphical user interface.
Enhanced multimedia and browsing. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can deliver rich, integrated browsing and multimedia with the inclusion of Internet Explorer 6 for Windows CE and Microsoft Windows Media® 9 Series codecs that provide an instant-on, always-on, playback digital media experience for broadband users.
New applications and services. Developers will find improved ease of use and the ability to reduce time to market with new applications and services. The .NET Compact Framework enables rapid, managed code development for devices, leveraging the well-known desktop development tools. Windows CE .NET 4.2 also provides improved API compatibility across Windows CE-based devices, including the Pocket PC software platform.
Easy access to partner solutions. Windows CE .NET 4.2 also provides an additional CD containing 18 third-party solutions from eight Windows Embedded partners. These additional components include board support packages (BSPs), hardware-specific device drivers and profiling tools to offer additional, out-of-the-box software options for embedded developers. Developers can always visit the Hardware Design Center or the Windows Embedded Partner Marketplace for additional third-party solutions.
Windows CE Early Development Programs
More than 60 companies are participating in the Windows CE .NET 4.2 early development programs, including industry leaders such as HP, NEC Access Technica, NEC Infrontia, Toshiba TEC Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. The early development programs include the Joint Development Program (JDP) for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and original design manufacturers (ODMs), building devices on Windows CE .NET 4.2, and the Windows CE .NET ISV Early Adopter Program (EAP), building innovative software applications and middleware. These programs promote rapid adoption of the operating system by providing OEMs, ODMs and independent software vendors with early access to Windows CE .NET 4.2. In turn, Microsoft is able to design and develop a feature set based on direct customer feedback and industry needs. Through Microsoft’s early development programs, these companies will soon deliver a breadth of devices, designs and software applications to the market that enable and enhance such devices as mobile handhelds, gateways, set-top boxes, and VoIP devices and solutions.
No. 1 Embedded Operating System Provider Worldwide
The strong interest in Windows CE .NET as well as Windows XP Embedded by industry leaders has been instrumental in securing a No. 1 position for Windows Embedded products. According to Venture Development Corp., Microsoft led in worldwide shipments of embedded operating systems for 2002. “With the strong feature set included in Windows CE .NET 4.2, we expect Microsoft to reinforce its leadership position in the embedded operating systems marketplace,” said Chris Lanfear, manager of Embedded Software Research at Venture Development Corp. “Developers will find that the enhancements in Windows CE .NET 4.2 will provide a foundation for both releasing their creativity and meeting project timelines.”
For 2001, Microsoft led revenue for embedded operating systems according to International Data Corp. document 27653, Worldwide Mobile and Embedded Operating Environment Market Forecast and Analysis, 2002-2006. Further supporting Microsoft’s position in the embedded operating system industry, Fred Broussard, senior analyst at IDC, notes, “A key to success in the embedded marketplace is offering customers a strong solution suite, solutions that offer a robust product line that includes software development kits and licenses for cross-functional solutions. The new version, Windows CE .NET 4.2, specifically provides new tools, performance enhancements and features for VoIP, residential gateways and set-top boxes. With the addition of Windows CE .NET 4.2 to the Windows Embedded product family of Windows CE and Windows XP Embedded, Microsoft continues to build a strong position in the marketplace.”
Pricing and Availability
Windows CE .NET 4.2 evaluation kits will be available at Microsoft’s Embedded Systems Conference booth, No. 1002. Evaluation kits are also available for order at the Windows Embedded Web site. Pricing and retail availability dates will be announced shortly. More information can be found at the Windows Embedded Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/embedded/ce.net/.