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Microsoft Talks 'Embedded Systems'

Microsoft has discussed details of its strategy for the Windows Embedded Business, providing a road map outlining the renaming of its family of products and plans for new solutions in key device categories. The new device category solutions will be offered under the "Windows Embedded Ready" name and ship as preconfigured toolkits providing device-makers with in-demand market-specific features that let them build and ship smart, connected, service-oriented devices.

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 TechEd 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.

Microsoft also announced the establishment of Windows Embedded CE 6.0 Certification, the first certification included in the Microsoft Certification Program for the Windows Embedded product family. A key element of the Windows Embedded business strategy, the certification will provide a common reference point on the skills and technical expertise that Microsoft recommends for all Windows Embedded CE 6.0 developers.

Customers developing projects on Windows Embedded CE will now be able to identify partners and distributors based on Windows Embedded technical knowledge. In addition, companies building devices on the Windows Embedded platform and wanting to hire Windows Embedded CE developers will now be able to better differentiate between candidates. In support of the certification, Microsoft is offering a free exam preparation kit for Windows Embedded CE developers. The kit can be downloaded or viewed online and is localized in English, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Korean, German and French.

The certification exam will be available on May 5, 2008; the official name of the exam is Exam 70-571: TS: Microsoft Windows Embedded CE 6.0 Application Development. It costs $125 (U.S.) and is administered by Prometric testing centers. The free preparation guide will be available at the MSDN Embedded Developer Center.

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