Saturday, April 2, 2011

Farewell Windows Mobile, long live Windows Embedded Handheld

Microsoft announced the newest addition to its mobile OS list known as Windows Embedded Handheld.  Windows Embedded Handheld, like most of Microsoft’s mobile OSes (other than Windows 7), is built on top of the Windows Embedded Compact (formerly known as Windows Embedded CE) core.

With today’s announcement, Microsoft now has at least six different OS offerings for mobile phones and devices. It has two different phone operating systems — Windows Mobile 6.x (the last of the line in the Windows Mobile OS family) and Windows Phone OS 7.0. (It has three if you count the Kin Phone OS, which is a modified version of Windows Phone OS 7.0.)  It has the just-launched Windows Embedded Handheld OS. It has an OS for TVs, set-top boxes, kiosks and other embedded tasks, known as Windows Embedded Standard 7.  It has Windows 7, which it is positioning as its OS for tablets and netbooks. And, as company officials said last month at Computex, it has Windows Embedded Compact 7 for PC makers who want to create slates and other consumer mobile devices that run on non-Intel processors and use less battery power.
Here’s and attempt to explain Microsoft’s mobile OS packs:
The place where Microsoft is consolidating its story is on the Windows Embedded Compact front. Windows Embedded Compact/Windows Embedded CE is the lowest level platform upon which Microsoft builds its phone and mobile device operating systems. Currently, the majority of the six different mobile OS offerings run a variety of different versions of Embedded Compact/Embedded CE. Microsoft is working to get more of its mobile OS platforms to run on top of the Windows Embedded Compact 7 core.

On 10 January 2011 Microsoft announced Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5. The operating system has compatibility with Windows Mobile 6.5 and is presented as an enterprise handheld device, targeting retailers, delivery companies, and other companies that rely on handheld computing