Microsoft 'Chelan': A new Windows Embedded platform takes shape

Microsoft 'Chelan': A new Windows Embedded platform takes shape

Summary: There's yet another new version of Windows Embedded Compact (the new name for Windows Embedded CE) in the works that is codenamed "Chelan." Microsoft officials provided a sneak peek of Chelan in a TechEd 2009 pre-conference session this week.

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It's easy to forget -- as Microsoft wants you to -- that the Windows Mobile operating system is built on top of an embedded Windows CE core.

Windows Mobile 6.5 seemingly is built on a customized version of Windows Embedded CE 5.X. Windows Mobile 7 is likely to be built on the  Embedded CE 6.X platform, I'd wager. (I'm hedging because don't know either of these things for a fact, as Microsoft hasn't answered my questions about this.)

But there's yet another new version of Windows Embedded Compact (the new name for Windows Embedded CE) in the works that is  codenamed "Chelan." Microsoft officials provided a sneak peek of Chelan in a TechEd 2009 pre-conference session this week.

Chelan, known officially unofficially as Windows Embedded CE 7.0 is the successor to Microsoft's Windows Embedded CE 6.0. Chelan is on track to be released to manufacturing in 2010 (just like "Quebec," which is the next version of Windows Embedded Standard, a k a XP Embedded).

Microsoft officials refused to say anything more about Chelan. The information company officials shared at the TechEd preconference seems to be considered to be under non-disclosure.

(Microsoft has shared a bit more about Quebec, however. It is an embedded, componentized version of much of the functionality in Windows Vista. 7, according to Microsoft.)

The Windows Mobile team is just one of the entities which build on top of the Embedded CE platform; Microsoft also licenses the Embedded CE components to other Microsoft teams, as well as third-party vendors. As Senior Technical Product Manager Mike Hall explained in a blog post a couple of years back:

"Windows CE gets released to two sets of customers, the general embedded developer (who builds cow milking machines, sewing machines, industrial robots, set top boxes, and a range of other cool devices) and "Microsoft internal" customers (Windows Automotive, Windows Mobile, others).

"The Windows Mobile team choose their own specific set of Lego blocks (operating system components), add their custom shell, applications (like Office Mobile), and device specific technologies (like the connection manager for example) - the result is a uniform set of operating system technologies, applications, shell and APIs that are consistent across all Windows Mobile devices - this means that an application written for one Windows Mobile smartphone (or Pocket PC) should run across all Windows Mobile devices....Windows Mobile OEMs don't have the ability to customize the underlying operating system/technologies because that would modify the exposed APIs on the platform, but do have the ability to add their own specific applications/services to the Windows Mobile device image (today screen plug-ins, applications like VoIP, games, or others)."

Given the lag time between a new Embedded CE release and the corresponding Windows Mobile release (example: Windows Mobile 6 was built on top of Windows CE 5.2), I'm highly doubtful Chelan is what's going to be inside Windows Mobile 7 -- in spite of Microsoft's claims that Chelan will help "to deliver really immersive user experiences quicker and easier than previously possible."

Instead, I'm betting Chelan will power Windows Mobile devices in the post-Windows-Mobile-7 timeframe. And I'm betting we'll see Chelan inside more portable devices than just Windows Mobile phones....

Topics: Software, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Mobility, Operating Systems, Wi-Fi, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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11 comments
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  • Better be good . . .

    With the iPhone and the Pre showing how phone OSes should be made - Microsoft's new phone OS had better be good. Dumping a Windows 9x interface onto a phone doesn't work so well, and just won't cut it anymore.
    CobraA1
    • Agreed

      Windows Mobile needs a huge facelift to be relavent in todays world.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • I enjoy my Omnia....

      Its one of the best phones I have ever had and it has not locked up on me in the 6 months I have owned it. Samsung puts on a nicer interface though nothing special. The Opera browser is great too. I would like to see Microsoft buy SPB Mobile. They make great Windows Mobile interfaces.
      OhTheHumanity
  • RE: Microsoft 'Chelan': A new Windows Embedded platform takes shape

    So what can you say about this picture
    http://i.komorkomaniak.pl/2009/04/wm7.png
    It is either a good fake or early pre-alpha leak
    Wishmaster89
    • I agree: it's a good fake or something has changed

      If Windows Mobile 7 is really based on Chelan, that's an encouraging sign. It means Microsoft has finally figured out how to turn out new mobile OS platform releases more quickly than every two (or more) years.

      I think it's kind of crazy that no one is willing to say which version of CE is in Windows Mobile 6.5 or 7.0.....But so far, I cannot get an MS comment on this.

      Thanks. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
  • RE: Microsoft 'Chelan': A new Windows Embedded platform takes shape

    Windows Mobile 7 will use Windows CE 6.x
    5ri
  • I'd rather see WinMobile 7 delayed so as to get the refresh

    Performance of the old code is diabolical at times.

    The magic number seven. Can they risk damaging Windows 7 desktop OS sales, with a similarly named mobile product that sucks?
    Custard_over_2x_Pie
  • Finally.. no more "wince" jokes...

    N/T
    TheWerewolf
  • RE: Microsoft 'Chelan': A new Windows Embedded platform takes shape

    Nice article,

    My guess would be that Windows Mobile 7 is based on
    Windows Embedded CE 7.0, probably named Windows
    Embedded Compact 7?

    http://www.arrownordic.com/events-
    training/seminars_events/microsoft_kista/WE%20CE%20&%2
    0WEC%2001%20-%20non%20NDA.pptx


    ErwinZwart
  • RE: Microsoft 'Chelan': A new Windows Embedded platform takes shape

    You lost me at Microsoft...All Hail the Penguin...
    ajboesch71@...
  • RE: Microsoft 'Chelan': A new Windows Embedded platform takes shape

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