Windows Into the Future

Microsoft’s Product Roadmap shows the way forward for developers and consumers.

The Windows Embedded Product Roadmap winds through a slew of sectors – compact, automotive and point of sale. The timeline (see graphic), more of a teaser than a full-on preview, lays out Microsoft’s planned launches through 2011. Microsoft won’t elaborate on the specifics of its future platforms, so for now those remain up for speculation. But a few things are certain: Windows Embedded, coupled with tools like Visual Studio 2010, are streamlining development and giving rise to a host of multimedia-rich applications, such as the hyper-connected, device-ready Microsoft Auto 4.1 (see our story, “Making Connections,” for more). To zoom in on the Roadmap and see where Windows Embedded is headed, EECatalog caught up with David Wurster, a senior product manager at Microsoft.

EECatalog: How does Windows Embedded Compact 7 streamline the development of connectivity to media and Windows 7 across networked devices?

Dave Wurster, senior product manager at Microsoft: As the next generation Windows Embedded platform, Windows Embedded Compact 7 offers the latest technologies and tools for developers to create engaging user experiences and streamlined connectivity to Windows 7-based PCs, servers and online services. Developers can give users the ability to control and consume rich media across a range of connected devices through simplified management of media on the device using a new Media Library, control of media playback across networked devices with Digital Living Network Associate (DLNA), and access HD content on the device through an updated multimedia pipeline.


Windows Embedded Compact 7 delivers a powerful connection to Windows 7 PCs through Windows Device Stage integration. It also offers the opportunity to easily transfer data and media between the PC and the device over Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) to ensure a consistent access to personal information and documents.

Additionally, Windows Embedded Compact 7 also includes resources for OEMs and developers to bring high performing, reliable and differentiated devices to market quicker with support for multi-core and ARM-based architecture and tools including Platform Builder, Visual Studio, Expression Blend and Silverlight for Windows Embedded.

Currently, the Windows Embedded Compact 7 public community technology preview is available for developers at The platform is expected to be released to manufacturing in the fourth quarter of this year.


EECatalog: Microsoft is currently undertaking a Community Technology Preview of Windows Embedded Compact 7. What kind of input and feedback are you receiving?

Wurster: The public CTP of Windows Embedded Compact 7, announced on May 31, 2010, ensures the Windows Embedded team can gather feedback from the community as we continue to develop the platform. Currently, we are not providing details on specific feedback, but we’re excited by the positive response we’ve been receiving.

EECatalog: Why was Windows Embedded Compact 7 deemed a better OS fit for tablets and similar devices than Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7?

Wurster: The Windows platform offers opportunities for hardware manufacturers to build innovative devices of all types, depending on their target market and chosen scenario. Windows Embedded Compact 7 provides manufacturers of small screen devices, including those built on ARM-based architecture, the ability to create rich experiences to consume media. For OEMs looking to build machines that deliver the full PC experience, Windows 7 delivers that.

Windows Phone is Microsoft’s platform for OEMs seeking to deliver rich, connected phone experiences to consumers and businesses. (See side graphic for more on Microsoft’s Mobility Strategy.)

EECatalog: From Microsoft’s perspective, what are the benefits of embedding an OS at the hardware level? What are the drawbacks?

Wurster: Embedding an OS such as Windows Embedded Compact 7 allows developers to build a wide range of devices that deliver immersive user experiences and rich connected experiences on several different CPU architectures.

Also, because a platform like Windows Embedded Compact 7 (formally known as Windows Embedded CE) is a componentized operating system, developers can create a custom version of the OS and applications that scales to their needs; optimizing the size of the footprint of the device, and utilizing only the key technologies needed for their scenario.

For additional information on Windows Embedded’s full portfolio of platforms and technologies, please refer to what.mspx.

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