Monday, 19 March 2012

Windows Embedded - Another component of the Windows 8 Platform

I was chatting with a colleague last week (at a desperately cool coffee bar on Berlin's East side) and we got onto the topic of the Windows 8 computing platform.  I had taken the view that Windows 8 was not about the desktop, but about a "continuous computing platform" which included 

  •      Windows 8 Server
  •      Windows 8 Desktop
  •      Windows 8 Tablets
  •      Windows 8 Phone
As more coffee was consumed, we added "enabling" platforms to the mix with the addition of the following technologies
  •      SQL Server 2012 (effectively the Windows 8 version of SQL Server)
  •      Hyper-V (App-V and Server App-V)
  •      Azure (App-fabric and potentially SQL Azure)
And, could we not forget Windows Embedded. Yes, Windows embedded. I had almost forgotten about the Windows XP embedded platform and what would happen with the introduction of the Windows 8 platform refresh.

A short read later, I found out that Microsoft had outlined their Windows Embedded Product Road map last November with the introduction of the Intelligent Systems category. It seems that the embedded platform will be released in sync with the Windows 8 platform and will cover devices such as;
  • Point of Sale  (POS) Terminals
  • In-Car information systems
  • Medical Equipment 
  • Games Machines (those found on bar top tables)
Kevin Dallas, the General Manager of Windows Embedded, has this to say about the next generation of Windows embedded;
“With today’s pervasive network connectivity, the emergence of cloud services and low-cost yet high-powered microchips, traditional embedded devices can now connect and participate as part of a broader IT infrastructure and exchange real-time data all the way to the customer’s fingertips,” Dallas says. “Intelligent systems offer endless possibilities for organizations to collect and act on information in real time, from understanding customer buying habits to tracking product shipments around the globe.”
Windows 8 Embedded appears to be broken down into 2 Products (or SKU's) with Windows 8 Standard and Windows 8 Enterprise.

Windows 8 Embedded Standard includes the following features;

  • Advanced device lockdown through flexible keyboard filters and a new unified write filter that combines previous write filters into a single, streamlined solution for better management and enhanced uptime.
  • Support for customized experiences and branding from boot to shut down, so apps can take advantage of Windows with a customized look and feel from the first press of the power button.
  • Componentization of the OS to scale the system up or down depending on the device.
  • IT pro management tools, including the Universal Configuration Tool (UCT) that provides for local and remote management, integrated into the security infrastructure.
  • OS development tools, including the new Module Designer that allows developers to easily integrate third-party software into the OS, including the ability to copy files, execute commands, install drivers and modify the registry.
Microsoft has not released all of the details for Windows 8 Enterprise yet, but, when these details are released, I will update this blog posting.


Windows Embedded Standard 8 community technology preview

Microsoft Intelligent Systems Roadmap

Microsoft Embedded Enterprise Homepage

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