Windows 7 to the Embedded Community

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-09-22 Print this article Print

Meanwhile, also at ESC, Microsoft announced its initial rollout of Windows 7 technologies to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of specialized devices through the RTM of the next-generation platforms for Windows Embedded Enterprise and Windows Embedded Server.

"The release of Windows 7 technologies to the embedded community underscores Microsoft's strategic commitment to enable device manufacturers to extend the power of the PC and address the budding market for specialized devices," said Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president of the Original Equipment Manufacturer Division at Microsoft, in a statement . "Providing Windows 7 technologies for OEMs to utilize in their next-generation devices will allow them to offer end users of enterprise and consumer devices enhanced capabilities through improved user experiences and connectivity to the established Windows ecosystem." 

Windows 7 Professional for Embedded Systems and Windows 7 Ultimate for Embedded Systems are the next-generation platforms in the Windows Embedded Enterprise portfolio for OEMs seeking full Windows application compatibility, Microsoft said. Both are fully functional, license-restricted versions of the Windows 7 desktop operating system with full Windows application compatibility intended for use in embedded devices, including ATMs, kiosks, industrial PCs and medical devices.

Windows Embedded Enterprise capabilities and features include multitouch capabilities, enterprise connectivity enabled by Microsoft DirectAccess and BranchCache, and legacy support through Windows XP Mode.

Meanwhile, Windows Server 2008 R2 for Embedded Systems builds on the Windows Server 2008 for Embedded Systems platform, with new features to assist OEMs in delivering dedicated embedded solutions and appliances with increased reliability and flexibility for unified messaging, telecommunications, security, medical imaging and industrial automation markets, said Ashwin Kulkarni, a program manager on the Windows Embedded team. New virtualization tools, management enhancements and Server Core help save time and reduce costs, he said.

Windows Embedded Server 2008 R2 capabilities and features include increased reliability with the Server Core installation option, which reduces the footprint of the OEM solutions by eliminating the graphical user interface, while supporting more server roles such as the .NET application. The product features also include improved management with Microsoft Hyper-V by running new and legacy functionality side by side while ensuring workload isolation, and Windows PowerShell 2.0, which includes remote server management for improved ease of deployment; and improved connection to other devices and services with Agile VPN for a highly reliable virtual private networking (VPN) tunnel; DirectAccess to configure a more secure communication path between remote devices and centralized data in headquarters, without going through VPN authentication; and improvements in failover clustering to help OEMs deliver a better connected system with improved application and operating system availability.

"The proliferation of devices integrating into enterprise infrastructures continues to create opportunities for developers and OEMs to build specialized devices that center around connectivity, enhanced user interfaces and time to market," said Stephen Balacco, director of the Embedded Software & Tools Practice for VDC Research Group, in a statement. "Microsoft's success in this area is the development of devices that are not necessarily resource-constrained, may not require any special hardware or software, and where third-party application software might already exist. These Windows 7-based embedded platforms will continue to build upon Microsoft's success and strategy to offer OEMs a standard general-purpose off-the-shelf environment that can be an attractive fit both technically and financially for specialized device development."

Microsoft also recently announced the availability of the Windows 7-based Windows Embedded Standard 2011 community technology preview to OEMs and developers worldwide, at Windows Embedded Standard 2011 delivers the power, familiarity and reliability of the Windows 7 operating system in a highly customizable and componentized form, enabling OEMs in industrial automation, entertainment, consumer electronics and other markets to focus on their core competencies and create product differentiation, Microsoft officials said.

Windows Embedded Standard 2011 will RTM in the first half of calendar year 2010.


Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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