Microsoft Gears Up Windows for Devices

Microsoft plans a new version of Windows Embedded CE for service-oriented devices and to encourage developer support. Microsoft is working on delivering the next version of Windows Embedded CE in November and on tapping the market for service-enabled devices.

Kevin Dallas, general manager of Microsoft's Windows Embedded Business group, said the company plans to launch Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R2 on Nov. 15 at the Embedded Technology 2007 show in Yokohama, Japan. The show is described on its Web site as "the world's largest trade show and conference for embedded system designers and managers."

The new operating system will be the foundation for service-oriented devices, Dallas told eWEEK in an interview. Windows Embedded CE 6.0 will feature support for Web services on devices, VOIP (voice-over-IP) video technology capabilities and Internet Explorer updates, Dallas said.

"We're clear on the opportunity moving forward," Dallas said. "And we're going to deliver an operating system to go into an intelligent device."

Dallas said the "intelligent device" space, which others refer to as the smart-phone market, is growing at "an exponential rate."

Indeed, Ilya Bukshteyn, director of Windows Embedded marketing at Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., said the company estimates that between 2006 and 2010 the market for connected enterprise devices is expected to grow by 23 percent per year, and the market for connected consumer devices is expected to grow at a rate of 50 percent per year.

"Growth is accelerating because these devices are becoming connected and enabling connected experiences, so we needed to focus more on end-user experience," Dallas said.

Moreover, service-oriented devices based on the new Microsoft platform will better enable users to take advantage of technology trends such as software plus services, many core hardware technologies, loosely coupled services and service-oriented development, the company said.

The new operating system also will enable devices to discover new services and act on them, Dallas said.

The team's efforts to service-orient the platform are building on the technology already built into Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system, including WSD (Web Services for Devices), Bukshteyn said.

Meanwhile, Dallas said the new features in Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R2 will provide support to enable services "on the chip, on the circuit board, on the premise[s] or in the cloud; it doesn't matter where it is."

Moreover, Dallas said he sees a growth opportunity not only in supporting new devices at the operating system level, but also in terms of services. "There is an opportunity for management services or other services," Dallas said, referring both to Microsoft and its partners.

"We're not talking three to five years from now, we're talking 12 to 24 months. … The next phase is the devices become service-aware, and if I could remotely manage a device and monitor it, I could more easily support the device" and users, Dallas said. And as devices become more service-aware, the devices will be able to tap into the wealth of data that exists on all the collective devices, he said.


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