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Microsoft Releases Windows Embedded CTP

New support for both Silverlight and the .NET 3.5 Framework.

In a bid to modernize the embedded version of its Windows software, Microsoft released the community technology preview of a newly revamped version set to ship by year's end.

Windows Embedded Standard will replace Windows XP Embedded, Microsoft officials said at last month's Tech-Ed North America 2008 Developers conference in Orlando, Fla. The new version boasts several new key technologies from Redmond, among them Microsoft's new Silverlight RIA runtime, Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) 6.1 and support for the .NET Framework 3.5.

Also noteworthy about the Windows Embedded release is its intended audience. While the key consumers of Windows Embedded are OEM suppliers of single-function devices, by announcing the release at Tech-Ed Microsoft is also reaching out to enterprise development shops that can benefit from developing applications for devices such as point-of-sale systems, ATM machines and kiosks.

"In the future, enterprises [will] want to connect the embedded devices onto the same infrastructures as PCs," says John Doyle, Microsoft's senior product manager for Windows Embedded.

The move should help enterprise development shops coalesce their programming resources to build out applications already intended for Windows onto embedded systems, suggests Rob Enderle, principal analyst of San Jose, Calif.-based Enderle Group.

"A lot of these shops have a deep pool of folks that can develop on Windows," Enderle says. "Microsoft is positioning Windows Embedded as a full-featured offering that's better targeted at folks that otherwise might not have used it."

Critical to that is the RDP 6.1 support, which is key to providing connectivity to Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista, Doyle explains. The Windows Embedded release will also support Microsoft's Network Access Protection, its new platform for controlling access to systems on a network via a client PC's identity. It's designed to comply with enterprise governance and policies.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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