REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 29, 1997 — Building on the extensive functionality and broad adoption of the Microsoft® Windows® CE operating system version 1.0, Microsoft Corp. today announced the release of Windows CE 2.0. Windows CE was designed and built from the ground up as an embedded platform to empower the development of a new range of emerging computing appliances, including highly portable and personal computing devices such as Handheld PCs (H/PCs), game consoles, smart phones, TV set-top boxes, DVD players and home appliances, as well as traditional embedded applications such as process monitoring and control, instrumentation, data collection, computer peripherals, office equipment, point-of-sale devices and telecommunications.
“The market has embraced Windows CE with great enthusiasm,” said Craig Mundie, senior vice president of the consumer platforms group at Microsoft. “In less than a year, there is now a large community of tool providers, systems integrators, ISVs and OEMs supporting the Windows CE platform. With the release of Windows CE 2.0, we expect the deployment of Windows CE-based devices and applications to accelerate even more.”
The modular, scalable Windows CE platform allows hardware manufacturers to select from a rich set of services only the functionality required for their application, enabling the development of devices with a capable set of services in as little as 512K of ROM and 256K of RAM.
Real-Time Embedded Operating System Characteristics
The following are just a few of the enhancements in Windows CE 2.0 that build on and extend its real-time embedded operating system characteristics:
Windows CE 2.0 provides support for real-time deterministic task scheduling.
Demand paging allows execution of programs larger than available RAM, which is one of the most expensive hardware components. Now, there is virtually no limit to the size of an executable that can be run, even in the most RAM-limited embedded applications. No extra effort by developers is required to partition application code into overlays or other contrivances to shoehorn executables into smaller RAM spaces.
Full UNICODE support enables the cost-effective development of localized embedded applications, which can profitably compete in worldwide markets.
Support for TrueType fonts enables high-quality, high-readability end-user interfaces across a wide range of display technologies and form-factors.
Support for 32-bit color displays in a wide range of resolutions allows device manufacturers the option of offering their customers a broad range of prices for a device, based on display technologies and resolution, from gray-scale up to 32-bit color.
Windows CE 2.0 and future versions of the operating system support the following announced, high-performance, 32-bit, embedded-processor architectures and manufacturers: ARM, MIPS, PowerPC, StrongARM, SuperH and x86 by AMD, Digital, Hitachi, IBM, Intel, Motorola, NEC, Philips and Toshiba.
Rich Connectivity and Interoperability
Windows CE was designed to provide rich connectivity and interoperability support to power the new era of interconnected computing appliances. The following are just a few of the enhancements in Windows CE 2.0 that build on and extend its real-time connectivity and interoperability:
Windows Sockets API and service layer support networking communication protocols and facilitate the direct porting of large amounts of application source code written to the API.
Support for the WinINET API and services helps enable direct access to HTTP and FTP protocols from within 32-bit Windows-based applications. This support also facilitates the direct porting of large amounts of Web and Internet application source code from the Windows 95 and Windows NT® operating systems.
Support for Secure Sockets Layer 2.0 and 3.0 is accessible through both the WinSock and WinINET interfaces.
Support for client-side network file sharing APIs for Windows NT and services helps enable direct access to file and print servers from within 32-bit Windows-based applications, and facilitates the direct porting of large amounts of client-side application source code from the Windows 95 and Windows NT open platforms.
A rich API provides direct support for data and file synchronization and replication between embedded devices and Windows-based PCs.
Rich Web-Browser and GUI Support
Windows CE offers rich support for graphical user interfaces (GUIs) of any embedded operating system. The following are just a few of the enhancements in Windows CE 2.0 that build on and extend its support for rich GUIs:
An embeddable, lightweight, small-footprint Web browser gives users the same look as Microsoft Internet Explorer and now supports frames, cookies and embedded controls for increased compatibility with Web sites designed for desktop browsers.
A library of lightweight, small-footprint controls helps developers build GUIs similar to those in Windows to reduce end user learning time.
Windows-Based Services, Developers, Tools, Source Code
The most important business benefit of adopting Windows CE is that it empowers OEMs and ISVs to take advantage of the immense assets of the world’s largest base of developers, high-productivity tools and reusable application source code:
Support for a subset of ActiveX
technologies is included for processing COM functions and building flexible software components.
Support for Visual Basic® programming system run time for Windows CE enables rapid solutions development.
Support for Java
virtual machine is based on JDK 1.1.
The familiar Win32® API programming model and recently expanded choice of development tools – including Microsoft Windows CE Embedded Toolkit for the Visual C++® development system 5.0, Windows CE Toolkit for Visual C++ 5.0, Windows CE Toolkit for Visual Basic 5.0 and Windows CE Toolkit for Visual J++
development software 1.1 – means millions of developers already have the expertise to create applications for the Windows CE platform. Whether developers are building new applications or extending the reach of the more than 17,000 existing 32-bit Windows-based packaged applications, these capabilities support faster time-to-market of compelling business solutions.
Strong Support from Device Manufacturers
In addition to Handheld PCs on the market from eight leading OEMs (Casio Computer Co., Compaq Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Hitachi Ltd., LG Electronics Inc., NEC Corp., Philips Electronics North America Corp. and Ericsson Mobile Communications), new categories of Windows CE-based devices are expected. Hardware manufacturers such as Aqua Communications, DriverTech, Intermec Technologies Corp., Radient Technologies, Symbol Technologies Inc. and Teklogix Inc. are standardizing on Microsoft’s embedded platform.
“Windows CE 2.0 is a very promising solution for the automated data collection industry,” said Fred Palmer, director of network products for Intermec Technologies, a leader in the data collection industry. “This new release provides standard connectivity and programming options that allow customers to integrate data collection applications into their existing information systems quickly, easily and inexpensively.”
DriverTech developed its hardware using a competitor’s embedded operating system platform until the company was introduced to Windows CE at COMDEX/Fall 1996. After evaluating the benefits of the new operating system, DriverTech decided to build its business on Windows CE.
“Last year, we switched and started using the Windows CE embedded operating system platform because it contained several components we hadn’t developed yet, including TCP/IP support, a fully functional PCMCIA slot, and a full set of easy-to-use development tools for Windows CE,” said Mark Haslam, president of DriverTech. “We got all of this for a minimal increase in our direct manufacturing costs, so we decided for the benefit of our customers to make the switch to Windows CE.”
Symbol Technologies (NYSE “SBL”), a world leader in bar-code-driven data transaction systems, is committed to supporting the Microsoft Windows CE architecture in future versions of its terminals and systems.
“Windows CE 2.0 offers our customers a migration path that enables them to develop
applications using their preferred development tools from Microsoft,” said Bob Saucedo, vice president of product marketing for Symbol Technologies’ mobile and wireless systems division. “With more than 5 million scanners and handheld computers installed worldwide, we’re looking forward to working with Microsoft on this very strategic program.”
Windows CE Availability
The Windows CE operating system can be licensed directly from Microsoft for large-volume applications and through dedicated system distributors for smaller-volume applications. For more information about Windows CE, visit http://www.microsoft.com/windowsce/developer/ .
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