SAN JOSE, Calif., November 4, 1998 — To provide developers with an effective, high-end platform for creating embedded applications, Microsoft said it will deliver a new version of Windows NT to address the needs of the embedded systems market.
Microsoft, which announced Windows NT Embedded 4.0 at the Embedded Systems West Conference in San Jose this week, said the high-end platform will allow developers to create more sophisticated embedded applications and reduce the time it takes them to bring their solutions to market. As a result, users will have access to a wider range of features at lower cost when using devices such as copier machines and routers. An embedded application is software designed to provide functionality for a dedicated device, such as a copier, printer or router.
Historically, embedded systems vendors have developed closed solutions based on fragmented and proprietary platforms. Based upon Windows NT 4.0 with Service Pack 4, Windows NT Embedded 4.0 is an open system, which will include rich system services, standard Win32 Application Program Interfaces (APIs), and access to a wealth of off-the-shelf software applications. All this will enable users to do more with their solutions, such as managing a copier from a desktop PC, or easily integrating the functions of that copier into an existing server infrastructure.
Windows NT Embedded 4.0 will deliver new embedded features and design tools that will help vendors lower development costs and bring their new devices to market more quickly. The Windows NT infrastructure will allow developers to easily create sophisticated embedded solutions that have more features and are closely interoperable with existing servers, networks and desktops.
The introduction of Windows NT Embedded 4.0 strengthens the offerings currently available to embedded developers through Windows CE and third-party applications. Windows CE is a Win32 API-based operating system, designed specifically for embedded applications. Windows NT Embedded 4.0 will work alone or in concert with Windows CE to create solutions requiring larger amounts of memory.
“Windows CE and Windows NT Embedded 4.0 provide embedded designers, with a very powerful set of common tools and the ability to support a broad range of memory footprints, functionality and cost parameters,” said John Frederiksen, Group Product Manager at Microsoft. “Each product offers customers and designers a distinct set of performance and design characteristics that will meet a broad set of customer needs. Whether customers choose Windows NT or Windows CE, or both,we think this will be a synergistic solution, since the tools and APIs are consistent.”
Microsoft is working with companies such as VenturCom Inc. and Cell Computing Inc. to ensure that Windows NT Embedded 4.0 provides a robust, scalable and widely used platform on which manufacturers can offer customers comprehensive embedded services and solutions. In September, Microsoft released an early alpha version of Windows NT Embedded to a small group of companies in the communications, industrial automation, office automation, medical devices and retail industries for technical evaluation. They include FORE Systems Inc., Manufacturing Data Systems Inc., Natural MicroSystems Corp., NEC Corp., Network Engines Inc., Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc. and others.