Microsoft delivers its 'other' tablet operating system: Windows Embedded Compact 7

Microsoft delivers its 'other' tablet operating system: Windows Embedded Compact 7

Summary: Microsoft announced general availability on March 1 of its 'other' new tablet/slate OS: its Windows Embedded Compact 7 operating system, codenamed 'Chelan.'

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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.)

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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:

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(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?

Topics: Operating Systems, Hardware, Laptops, Microsoft, Mobility, Software, Tablets, 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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57 comments
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  • Message has been deleted.

    techvet
  • Oops they did it again

    Someone needs to tell them that having all these variations of technologies does not work very well for us developers. I mean why use C++ when we have invested all this work on .NET/WPF/Silverlight/etc? <br><br>Couldn't they get it to work fast enough or write a more efficient garbage collector? The W7 phones did not show performance problems... It all sounds very weird and I don't think retooling is very appealing to most developers. <br><br>I would consider retooling if their devices were runaway hits, but let's be honest, with RIM, Androids, iOs, et al using a much more consistent model and actually being so far in the horizon in terms of sales, I doubt I will go back to the horrible language that is C++ (just ask Linus, Ken, James, Anders, etc.) just to program a couple of unproven M$ platforms.
    nicholas22
    • RE: Microsoft delivers its 'other' tablet operating system: Windows Embedded Compact 7

      @nicholas22
      FYI, iOS - Objective C is a variant of C++. And Win EC7 supports both Silverlight (.NET) and C++. And Win EC is used to power mobile phones, POS, Medical Equipment, Industrial components that are used at various places like manufacturing, service centers etc. And now this also supports Tablets/slates.
      >>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.

      Ok, I got it you are just here to bash Microsoft. Never mind.
      Ram U
      • RE: Microsoft delivers its 'other' tablet operating system: Windows Embedded Compact 7

        @Rama.NET >>you are just here to bash Microsoft.

        And you are here for what? To tell me how great .NET is?
        nicholas22
      • Actually, I get it, you have not figured out yet that Microsoft is

        irrelevant in mobile / embedded.
        DonnieBoy
      • RE: Microsoft delivers its 'other' tablet operating system: Windows Embedded Compact 7

        @nicholas22
        I come here to learn about newer technologies and information. But I couldn't resist myself after seeing your response. You are thinking that RIM, Android, iOS can only be used to do slates/tablets. I am telling there is more than that. Also you said why they are not supporting .NET, so I said they are supporting it in addition to C++. It has C++ interface because it is also used for embedded computing, which is the prime target for Win EC7 in addition to WP7. Nowhere in my response I praised .NET or undermined whatever technology you are thinking is great.
        Ram U
        • RE: Microsoft delivers its 'other' tablet operating system: Windows Embedded Compact 7

          @DonnieBoy
          Microsoft is one of the leading providers for industrial automation, medical equiment etc. There is business more than just mobile phones and tablets/slates. Please learn that fact first.
          Ram U
      • Donnieboy gets Slam Dunked!!

        @Rama.NET
        I guess DonnieBoy is learning how irrelevant he is.

        He just can't get anything right anymore!
        Will Farrell
      • RE: Microsoft delivers its 'other' tablet operating system: Windows Embedded Compact 7

        @Rama.NET : Just a quick note. Objective C is not a variant from C++.

        Rather C++ and Objective C are derivatives of plain old C.
        cosuna
      • RE: Microsoft delivers its 'other' tablet operating system: Windows Embedded Compact 7

        @Rama.NET

        Objective C is not a variant of C++. Its more an extension of C.
        andrewjg
      • RE: Microsoft delivers its 'other' tablet operating system: Windows Embedded Compact 7

        @cosuna and @andrewjg
        I know that and it was too quick from me to say it is variant of C++. Actually you are right it is an extension of C. But the concept of Objective-C is similar to C++ i.e. interfaces/classes, properties, data encapsulation, private and public methods etc. Lame me to say it is variant of C++.
        Ram U
      • Objective-C is NOT a &quot;variant&quot; of C

        @Rama.NET
        It's just plain wrong to call Objective-C a variant of C++. It's an entirely different OOP branch from C. It has NOTHING to do with C++. Both Objective-C and C++ can be seen as descending from C, but they're different (and unrelated) branches.
        David513b
      • Objective C

        @Rama.NET
        Objective C is not a variant of C++, it is an extension of ANSI C. Objective C has more in common with Smalltalk than it does with C++.
        mjtomlin71
      • RE: Microsoft delivers its 'other' tablet operating system: Windows Embedded Compact 7

        @Rama.NET - i didnt gather any MS bashing at all. just honest pragmatism. i have a lot invested in .NET, and little in C++.
        mdelvecchio
      • RE: Microsoft delivers its 'other' tablet operating system: Windows Embedded Compact 7

        @ David513b & @mjtomlin71
        Did you guys really read the entire thread before bashing me? I accepted that was a mistake to say Objective-C as variant of C++. My bad, I replied back to @cosuna and @andrewjg. Please stop it. Otherwise I think you both as blind fanbois who have no passion for technology. I have 100% passion for technology and I don't care about its manufacturer. Of course I do have issues with businesses and their products like MotoBlur from Motorola, but thats all.

        @mdelvecchio
        So what do you call about this?
        <i>I would consider retooling if their devices were runaway hits, but let's be honest, with RIM, Androids, iOs, et al using a much more consistent model and actually being so far in the horizon in terms of sales, I doubt I will go back to the horrible language that is C++ (just ask Linus, Ken, James, Anders, etc.) just to program a couple of unproven M$ platforms.</i>

        First of all MS is not M$, only Microsoft bashers tend to write in that way to show their hatred against it. Secondly, Microsoft has been in the business of embedded marketing for a long time and if you really look into the image that Mary Jo put, it speaks for itself. The addition to already existing platform in its next version is supporting Silverlight and thus Tablets/Slates.
        Ram U
      • RE: Microsoft delivers its 'other' tablet operating system: Windows Embedded Compact 7

        @Rama.NET "Objective C is a variant of C++."
        No, Objective C is a variant of C with smalltalk-style messaging schemes. It influenced Java, TOM, and Objective-J, and is a completely different implementation than that of C++.

        They day my life is saved by an embedded machine running .NET....
        jkltechinc
      • RE: Microsoft delivers its 'other' tablet operating system: Windows Embedded Compact 7

        @Rama.NET
        get real
        get a life
        get commercial
        get successful
        drop MS
        desilvav
    • RE: Microsoft delivers its 'other' tablet operating system: Windows Embedded Compact 7

      @nicholas22

      Ok iOS I will give you but Android? Just about every phone I have seen running Android is different than another.

      Besides Android is Linux at it's core right? There are so many variations of Linux I do not know how anybody can keep them straight.

      This whole idea that there are too many variations of the Windows Operating systems in the Desktop, Server, and Embedded areas is nothing more than FUD. It is not a mystery what the target Audience or implementation is for the various forms of Windows. Can't say the same about Linux.

      iOS and MacOS are different because they only make operating systems for their branded hardware. Microsoft and Linux both work on any computer, server, or embedded or mobile type device that can run it no matter who makes it. You have to expect more variations because of that. The same can be applied to RIM and blackberry too since they only run it on their devices and no one else's.
      bobiroc
      • RE: Microsoft delivers its 'other' tablet operating system: Windows Embedded Compact 7

        @bobiroc I was referring to the programming model. Not platform versioning.
        nicholas22
      • Sorry to interrupt...

        @bobiroc : ironically your point is a half truth, and ironically, it's what gives Android an edge over iOS and WP7. Let me explain.<br><br>iOS is mostly a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NeXTSTEP">NextStep</a> evolution, based on the Darwin core using the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I/O_Kit">I/O kit</a> for drivers. Ask any Mac user as witness and they most of the time have trouble with fancy or really old hardware.<br><br>WP7 leverages <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Embedded_CE_6.0">Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R3</a> which has mixed track record. Finding a driver for it is a real hurdle. Porting drivers to the CE model is also problematic. That's the primary reason the only mainstream implementation of CE to date is Windows Mobile. Ask any integrator, and most have jumped ship to Linux.<br><br>Linux on the other hand, is a single project, managed independently of the distros. You can download the source code and build your own version of the kernel, based on a reference number. It's evolution has been far more conservative and up until now there's no 3.0 release. This has created stability and has provided a "best-of-breed" implementation across devices, starting at small embedded devices (routers) up to multi scalar multi processor super computers. Almost all U.S. Motorola phones (including those without Android) run Linux. You can check the version included on the settings tab on Android (<a href="http://cdn.androidcommunity.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/samsung-galaxy-s-froyo-leak1.jpg">here</a>). If you fork, it's no longer Linux.<br><br>So that's the key advantage. While WP7 had to fork WECE6.0 to cover their goals, and now OEMs need a special team for WP7 drivers and another team for WEC7 drivers once "Mango" (WP8) gets deployed, all Linux distros can reuse drivers from any other source. That the reason Near Field, Hot Spot, Hot Plug SD cards, etc came first to Android.<br><br><i>Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore,</i>
        cosuna