Microsoft Delivers New Windows OS for Enterprise Handheld Devices

Microsoft introduces a new version of Windows Embedded for enterprise mobility: the Windows Embedded Handheld platform.

Microsoft has announced a new version of Windows Embedded: the Windows Embedded Handheld platform.

Announced at a joint event with Motorola on Wall Street at the New York Stock Exchange June 17, "Windows Embedded Handheld is a new software platform designed to meet key line-of-business (LOB) scenarios and boost productivity of the mobile enterprise work force by enabling users to capture, access and act on business-critical information where and when they need it," Microsoft said in a news release.

In an interview with eWEEK, David Wurster, senior product manager for Windows Embedded, said, "The first release under the brand is scheduled to come this calendar year and build on the Windows Mobile 6.5 platform with trusted management and security features, as well as enhanced protection for existing enterprise investments in LOB applications on devices."

Wurster said a future version of the technology will be available in the second half of 2011 and will be known as Windows Embedded Handheld 7. That version will be based on Windows Embedded Compact 7 and will feature a different set of developer tools and experiences.

At the Wall Street event, Motorola launched a its ES400 Enterprise Digital Assistant, or EDA, which supports Windows Embedded technology.

"Historically, Microsoft has offered two software platforms to help ... OEMs deliver the next generation of enterprise handheld devices: Windows Embedded CE (the Windows Embedded Compact 7 community technology preview was announced June 1 and is available for download) and Windows Mobile," Microsoft said.

Of the Windows Embedded Handheld software, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, in a statement, said, "These releases will provide proven management and security functionality, while giving customers confidence that investments in handheld enterprise devices and line-of-business applications will be protected over time by an extended support life cycle."

In a video appearance at the joint event in New York, "Ballmer announced that Windows Embedded will continue to support developer tools used in building applications and experiences on today's devices, including Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 and Windows Forms. This will help provide confidence that the existing investments will be protected over time as Microsoft releases new software platforms, as the operating system support life cycle will be extended to more closely align with the typical life cycle of devices in the enterprise," Microsoft said.

Market research company VDC, which focuses on the embedded space, had this to say about Microsoft Embedded Handheld:

"Regarding the future road map, an updated Windows Embedded Handheld platform based on Windows 7 technologies will be released in the second half of calendar year 2011. This expanded platform will build on Windows Mobile 6.5's proven manageability and security features by incorporating additional technologies from Windows Embedded Compact 7, including updated kernel and memory models, browser, and input methods, such as multitouch. Additionally, the platform will feature the Silverlight for Windows Embedded user interface framework to help OEMs, developers and designers implement immersive user interfaces on enterprise handheld devices. Microsoft will also include a migration path for existing applications to a new application platform based on Microsoft Silverlight and Microsoft XNA with Visual Studio 2010."