The latest Windows Embedded platform brings touch input, speech commands and advanced Silverlight graphics to infotainment systems in cars.
Microsoft introduced Windows Embedded Automotive 7, the latest version of
its Windows platform for cars, on Oct. 19. It will be available to "select
car makers and suppliers in the automotive industry," the company said in
Part of Microsoft's family of embedded platforms, Windows Embedded
Automotive 7 targets car makers and suppliers that build infotainment systems
for automobiles. Developers can combine communication, entertainment,
navigation and information services on a single platform.
"Consumers are increasingly demanding access to new multimedia content,
productivity solutions, and connected services for entertainment and
communication from their in-vehicle systems, similar to what they expect from their
other devices," said Gartner analyst Thilo Koslowski.
Windows Embedded Automotive's "key features include speech commands,
touch input, hands-free Bluetooth phone communications, advanced dashboard
systems for access to music, maps, third-party apps and navigation, and
streamlined connectivity with other devices," the company said.
In parallel, Microsoft revealed that Windows Embedded Compact 7 will not be
released to manufacturing during the fourth quarter as was previously
announced. Windows Embedded Compact 7 is a real-time operating system designed
for consumer electronic devices such as mobile phone, digital cameras and GPS
systems. The general availability date
for Windows Embedded Compact 7
is now first quarter of 2011, a Microsoft
spokesperson told ZDNet's
Mary Jo Foley.
The next generation of Windows
Windows Embedded Compact became a public beta in June. Windows
Phone 7 and Zune HD have Windows Embedded Compact at the core. For developers
currently working on Embedded Compact applications, Embedded Compact 6.0 R3 is
the latest version available.
Silverlight for Windows Embedded will be available in the new automotive
platform, Microsoft said. Car makers can create applications with two- and three-dimensional
graphics using the Silverlight Rich Internet Application technology.
Microsoft's Tellme speech technology will power simple and hands-free system
commands. There is also extended SMS (Short Message Service) support allowing
replies to text messages to be constructed by speech, the company said. Tellme
on Automotive 7 supports eight languages: U.S. English, UK English, German,
Mexican Spanish, Continental Spanish, Canadian French, Continental French and
There are also new developer tools to integrate third-party systems and
simplify the development process, Microsoft said.
Windows Embedded Automotive-based systems are currently available in select
models from various car manufacturers. Ford's MyFord Touch, the touch-screen
information hub for Nissan's Leaf electric car and Fiat's Blue & Me media
gateway are built on Windows Embedded Automotive.
"Windows Embedded Automotive 7 and Windows Embedded Compact 7 share
some common components, including the Silverlight for Windows Embedded UI
framework, although Windows Embedded Automotive 7 has been developed to meet
the unique needs of the automotive industry," a company spokesperson said.
The "7" in the name indicates there are many components of the
Windows 7 operating system, but because it's specialized for the automotive
industry, it lacks most of the features and bulky code of the full operating
the next generation of Windows XP Embedded that was
released earlier in 2010, and Windows
Microsoft aligned all of its other embedded products
shortly after announcing Windows Phone 7.
Microsoft made the announcement Oct. 19 at the SAE Convergence conference