Microsoft announced general availability on March 1 of the final version of its Windows Embedded Compact 7 operating system, codenamed "Chelan."
Microsoft posted a 180-day trial version of the final Windows Embedded Compact 7 bits to the Microsoft Download Center on February 28. (Microsoft officials refused to say when the Compact 7 product actually RTM'd, but @UltraWindows notes the digital signature on the bits is February 19, 2011.)
(click on the slide to enlarge)
The newest Embedded Compact operating system is designed to power phones (including Windows Phones), medical devices, industrial automation products and retail systems, as well as slates/tablets.
For the last several months, a number of Microsoft OEMs have been touting new slates and tablets that will be running Compact 7. Microsoft officials have attempted to distinguish slates and tablets running full Windows 7 from those running Compact 7 by saying those running the Windows Embedded Compact OS are meant to be consumption devices, rather than consumption and creation devices.
Microsoft's first "real" tablet/slate OS is considered by many to be Windows 8, which is seemingly on track to be released to manufacturing in 2012.
The Windows Embedded Compact 7 product -- the evolution of Windows Embedded CE -- includes several new features. Among them:
* Support for ARM v7 * New developer and designer tools * New technology for creating user interfaces * New SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) support for x86 & ARM, MIPS * New multimedia player, with customizable UI * New version of Internet Explorer (which is based on IE 7 with some "performance updates" from IE 8) * Flash 10.1 support (which requires an Adobe license by OEMs who want to include that feature) * Silverlight for Embedded support * Improved Connectivity to PCs, servers (NDIS 6.1 support)
Silverlight for Embedded enables OEMs to create custom interfaces, using XAML and native C++, "free from Windows chrome," meaning the surrounding usual Windows user-interface elements. Here's a slide from a recent Microsoft presentation to OEMs that outlines the new Silverlight for Embedded feature in Compact 7:
Go to the next page for more Microsoft slides and information about Windows Embedded Compact 7
Microsoft was scheduled to RTM Windows Embedded Compact 7 before the end of calendar 2010, but in October 2010, acknowledged the company had pushed back that delivery date. In January, the team issued a new Commmunity Technology Preview (CTP) test build of the product. Microsoft officials said in January 2011 to expect Microsoft to deliver new SKUs of Embedded Compact 7 in the April/May 2011 timeframe. When I asked today for more information as to what is coming, I didn't receive a reply by the time I posted this blog entry.
(Update: Still no answer from Microsoft as to what's coming in April/May, but maybe it's the Embedded Compact 7 version of the Windows Embedded Handheld OS that Microsoft promised was coming. Just a guess on my part....)
Here are a few more Windows Embedded Compact 7 slides from the aforementioned Microsoft OEM presentation that may be of interest:
(click on slide to enlarge)
(click on the slide to enlarge)
Anyone out there considering a Windows Embedded Compact 7 tablet this year? Any preferences -- by you OEMs, partners or customers -- for a Compact 7 one vs. a full-Windows 7 tablet?