SAN FRANCISCO — June 27, 2013 — This week at the Build 2013 conference, Microsoft executives announced availability of the Windows 8.1 Preview, underscoring the opportunities for developers and partners throughout the ecosystem to execute on the company’s devices and services strategy.
Simultaneously, Microsoft extended its Windows 8.1 technologies to intelligent system solutions with the Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Release Preview. Developers, OEMs and enterprises can begin testing industry devices and solutions today — an opportunity to take advantage of the continuing maturation of the Windows Embedded 8 platform, as well as to help ensure the tightest possible integration between devices and the broader Windows universe.
Kevin Dallas, general manager of Windows Embedded at Microsoft, says delivering Windows 8.1 technologies to the Windows Embedded 8 family further strengthens the codebase alignment and release schedule of the operating systems. Microsoft’s commitment to extend Windows across industry devices provides enhanced functionality for a range of intelligent systems scenarios and drives greater insight and operational intelligence for industries such as retail, manufacturing and healthcare.
“With Windows 8.1, we have focused strategy around ensuring our enterprise customers, partners, developers and entire ecosystem can fully harness the opportunities with Windows across a range of devices and service scenarios,” Dallas says. “This should really benefit developers targeting the Internet of Things and intelligent system solutions, allowing them to include everything from PCs and tablets to industry devices tailored for unique industry needs, bringing them all together to help enterprises drive intelligence with the latest Microsoft technologies.”
Dallas says the release of Windows Embedded 8.1 will offer key Windows 8.1 enhancements, including UX updates, security, connectivity and others. In addition, Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry will extend flexibility and lockdown capabilities enabled by the Unified Write Filter, Keyboard Filter, USB Filter and Gesture Filter to ensure a consistent device configuration. Manageability will also be improved through the Embedded Lockdown Manager and support for the new System Center 2012 R2.
Another big change with the Windows 8.1 update is expanded capability for Windows 8 style applications, as well as added functionality to support magnetic stripe readers and barcode scanners. The expanded functionality will allow devices such as POS terminals and retail scanners to feature engaging, modern applications that can easily integrate with back-end server systems and business software. Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry will also support POS for .NET, enabling plug-and-play peripheral scenarios for desktop-style applications.
The Windows 8.1 update will be rolled out to the following Windows Embedded 8 products:
• Windows Embedded 8 Industry will become Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry, offering a full version of Windows 8.1 plus additional lockdown technologies for the x86 and x64 platforms.
• Windows Embedded 8 Pro will become Windows Embedded 8.1 Pro, offering a full, license-restricted version of Windows 8.1 Pro with x86 and x64 support.
Partners building industry devices and intelligent system solutions with Windows Embedded 8 Standard can continue harnessing the modular Windows 8 operating system. The platform will not be receiving updated Windows 8.1 technologies.
In addition, Windows Embedded will continue to align its release schedule with Windows Server 2012 R2 — becoming Windows Server 2012 R2 for Embedded Systems, offering a full version of Microsoft’s server product with license restrictions for use with intelligent system solutions.
The Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Release Preview is available for download now. All the new products are expected to become generally available later this year, and people building devices on Windows Embedded 8 Industry and Windows Embedded 8 Pro today can bring their software forward quickly and easily with a simple migration path.
For a more technical discussion about the new features and capabilities of Windows Embedded 8.1 technologies, please see today’s post on the Windows Embedded developer blog.