Sunday, August 10, 2008

Special delivery: Q&A on Windows Embedded new road map

This news might have gone unnoticed by some of you, but recently Microsoft announced a new road map for its Windows Embedded products, released the update to Windows XP Embedded and introduced its newest OS, Windows Embedded NavReady 2009.

Windows Embedded was at first lacking the popularity, most probably because there weren't much of devices available for it in the past. But now, as portable and mobile devices based on Windows Embedded are coming out more and more often, Microsoft believes it's time to introduce better products with more familiar naming for them.

Windows Embedded introduced its renaming strategy for future product upgrades to help drive awareness, credibility and differentiation of the Windows Embedded product family around key benefits including faster time to market, and connected experiences on a broad range of products and devices.

The upgrades to each product, which started with Windows Embedded Standard 2009, the newest version of Windows XP Embedded, will be introduced one by one. Currently, Microsoft has announced the new naming scheme and expected launch timing which is as follows:

  • Windows Embedded Compact, the next generation of Windows Embedded CE, will launch in the second half of 2009.
  • The next generation of Windows Embedded Point of Service will launch as Windows Embedded POSReady in 2009.
  • Windows Embedded NavReady, a new product, launched in summer 2008.
  • Windows Embedded Enterprise, is a fully application-compatible embedded operating system that over time will gain a broader set of embedded enabling features. Today this product group is composed of Windows Vista and Windows XP for Embedded Systems and is licensed exclusively for embedded device development.
All of the new products are still based from the popular and widely used Windows XP platform, not Windows Vista, this will give more opportunities for software developers to create compatible 3rd party softwares for the upcoming new Windows Embedded platforms. And it looks like everyone are agree, this is for the best for all since Windows Embedded platforms are aimed for middle class users; rather than the cutting-edge and power hungry devices.

The first product update, Windows Embedded Standard, is the next generation of the already existing Windows XP Embedded product. According to Richard Naas (;,Windows Embedded Standard offers features beyond a new name. These new features include Silverlight, Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) 6.1, and .NET Framework 3.5. Support for Silverlight provides a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in to deliver the next-generation of media experiences, including video, animation, and user interactivity. The latest version of RDP lets devices seamlessly connect to systems running Windows Vista, and take advantage of new features in Windows Server 2008 including the latest security and management technology.

Windows Embedded NavReady is Microsoft’s first embedded operating system designed specifically for OEMs building portable navigation devices (PNDs). Based on Windows Embedded CE, Windows Embedded NavReady 2009 will help developers and OEMs quickly bring to market smart, connected, service-oriented PNDs that easily connect to online services, mobile phones using Bluetooth, Windows-based PCs and the Internet.

As demand for personal navigation devices continues to increase, and existing owners look to upgrade from their original devices, original equipment manufacturers must continue to innovate and enhance their products with features that will attract a variety of users,” said Chris Jones, Canalys vice president and principal analyst.

With the addition of the Windows Embedded NavReady 2009 solution, Windows Embedded now presents two device category-specific offerings: Windows Embedded NavReady 2009 and Windows Embedded POSReady. Windows Embedded POSReady, the next generation of Windows Embedded for Point of Service, is scheduled to ship in 2009.

As for Windows Embedded CE, the root of Windows Mobile, it will be updated to Windows Embedded Compact in the second half of 2009. I managed to get in touch with Windows Embedded, and they have been very helpful to give answers on the new naming and road map of Windows Embedded. I'll lay them all bare naked for you below:
  1. What was the reasons for Microsoft to rename the Windows Embedded products line-up? --- Windows Embedded is renaming its family of products in a way that is easy to remember, more intuitive. The renaming will drive awareness, credibility and differentiation of the Windows Embedded product family around key benefits including faster time to market, and connected experiences on a broad range of products and devices focused around our key device categories (PND, CMD, Thin Client, ATM/Kiosks/POS). This will continue to drive leadership around the new world of smart, connected, service-oriented devices and what this means with respect to users, new business models, as well as opportunities for OEM’s, Enterprises and Service providers.
  2. How Microsoft decides on the name like Standard, Enterprise and Compact? --- We knew we needed a clear way to introduce new products in the pipeline with nomenclature that was easily understood and more customer-centric. We decided to address this by investing in quantifiable research to determine a new naming structure for the embedded market.We worked with our corporate marketing experts in language and geography to review a list of possible names and the structure. “Compact, Standard and Enterprise” tested very well individually and they worked relative to each other. In fact, over 90% of respondents could determine the order for footprint size and features when listing the names. Also, research clearly showed a preference for names, not acronyms.
  3. For a quick comparison from you, what are the main differences among those three above? --- Windows Embedded Enterprise products are fully functional versions of XP Pro and Vista that cannot be componentized. Standard PC development tools are used to develop OEM applications. These operating systems have the same hardware operating requirements as their desktop equivalents.Windows Embedded Standard (formerly Windows XPe) is a componentized version of Windows XP Pro. Developers use custom tools to remove components they do not need in order to reduce the software footprint of the operating system. Windows Embedded Standard 2009 features technologies that easily connect with many common industry standards plus several Microsoft desktop and server technologies leading to lower costs in application development, operating system deployment, servicing, and maintenance. With Windows Embedded Standard 2009, developers get access to a mature technology portfolio of embedded specific tools that work in the familiar developer environment of Visual Studio allowing them to rapidly configure, build, and deploy devices that are more secure, reliable, and manageable.Windows Compact Edition (formerly Windows Embedded CE) is a small footprint operating system that is built up from a software core. The operating system is highly customizable.
  4. I see Microsoft has released a new line-up with the naming of "Ready", what does "Ready" stand for? --- As part of the Windows Embedded strategic roadmap, we will be driving entrance into key device categories to address the growing demands on developers to quickly deliver new and innovative connected devices in these key categories. The new key device category solutions will be offered under the Windows Embedded “Ready” moniker and ship as preconfigured toolkits providing device maker’s with in-demand market specific features allowing them to build and ship next generation smart, connected, service-oriented devices in an accelerated fashion. These new solutions will be released on a rolling schedule and started in the first half of 2008 with the first offering targeting the Personal Navigation Device (PND) and GPS market. This product is named Windows Embedded NavReady. Windows Embedded for Point of Service will also become an integral part of the key device category solutions offerings, targeting the Retail Sector following its next release in 2009 as Windows Embedded POSReady.
  5. With the new naming, is that mean also new price? --- No. The new naming isn’t tied to any pricing change. Pricing decisions will remain based on the specific product and release and market factors.

Please see this chart image of the Windows Embedded roadmap for your easier viewing pleasure (pictured right, click on the image to view it larger). Enjoy!

[blogged with my Treo 750v]

No comments: