Microsoft rolls out latest release of its operating system for ruggedized mobile devices

Microsoft rolls out latest release of its operating system for ruggedized mobile devices

Summary: Microsoft is making available as of January 10 its Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 operating system -- its offering for ruggedized enterprise phones and devices.

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Microsoft is making available as of January 10 its Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 operating system -- its offering for ruggedized enterprise phones and devices.

Microsoft unveiled its plans for Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 in June, 2010, committing to deliver the release before the end of calendar 2010. Microsoft officials also said at that time to expect another version of the Windows Embedded handheld platform -- Windows Embedded Handheld 7, built on top of Windows Embedded Compact 7 -- in the second half of calendar 2011.

Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 is built on top of Windows Mobile 6.5, and is targeted primarily at devices for custom line-of-business applications, like bar-code scanning, RFID reading, etc. (Windows Mobile 6.5 was one of the last versions of Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system family that the company delivered before shifting gears and moving to Windows Phone 7.) Microsoft officials said today that the company will offer mainstream support for Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 through December 2014, and extended support through December 2019.

OEMs working on devices running Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 include Intermec, Motorola and Honeywell. Microsoft and its partners are showing off Windows Embedded Handheld devices at the National Retail Federation (NRF) show in New York City this week.

Windows Embedded Handheld is just one of many mobile operating systems from Microsoft. Others include the aforementioned Windows Embedded Compact, Windows Embedded Standard, Windows Phone OS and Windows 7. The Embedded organization at Microsoft, as of a reorg last fall, is part of the company's Server and Tools unit.

So what about Windows Embedded Compact 7? Last week, I speculated about Microsoft's near- and longer-term directions for the Embedded Compact product line, given that Microsoft is moving Windows to the ARM processor family. I noted that Microsoft officials had delayed the Embedded Compact 7 launch until the first quarter of 2011 (last we heard). Subsequently, I received a note from an Embedded division spokesperson, noting that Embedded Compact 7 "is very much on track for early this year."

One reader (thanks @UltraWindows), sent me a link to a Microsoft Lifecycle Support Web page that makes it look like the RTM date for Embedded Compact 7 is March 15, 2011.

(click on the image above to enlarge)

Windows Embedded Compact 7 is expected to be the core of not just the next version of the Embedded Handheld platform, but also future iterations of the Windows Phone OS and tablets/slates from OEMs who don't want to run Windows 7.

Microsoft also announced on January 10 a community technology preview (CTP) test build of Windows Embedded POSReady 7, an embedded operating system for in-store point-of-sale devices for the retail and hospitality industries. The final version of Embedded POSReady 7, which includes a number of Windows 7 features, is due before the end of calendar 2011, officials said.

Topics: Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, 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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  • RE: Microsoft rolls out latest release of its operating system for ruggedized mobile devices

    Mary Jo,

    How is this announcement any different than the one they made in June of last year? Just seems they are giving us the same exact announcement with no new information as they did 6 months ago. I think all of us interested in this enterprise handheld market are wondering what Microsoft will decide to do with the next version (Windows Embedded Handheld 7). I'm mostly wondering what they plan to do on the software development side of this new OS. Will it be Silverlight development like on WP7 or something else? Thanks for the information.
    bevcat
    • Not really an OS thing

      @bevcat .NetCF 3.5 is supported on CE7 as well as .NetCF 3.7 so you can either do silverlight or winforms dev, only sticky point to that is your app has to pick one, because 3.5 and 3.7 don't share the same CLR and you can't host both CLR's in you app you must make the decision of 3.5 or 3.7
      TGGR
    • THhs is the availability of what was anncd in June

      Hi. This announcement was the delivery of the promise from June. They aren't talking about the version 7 of Embedded Handheld yet. As far as I know, there still is going to be a version 7. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
  • RE: Microsoft rolls out latest release of its operating system for ruggedized mobile devices

    @TardHugger Isn't Silverlight only supported on .NetCF using native C++ code? If that story continues for the next version of CE7 and WEH7 then Silverlight using managed code (C#, VB.Net) likely won't be an option, right? The future just doesn't look bright for CE7 if we are forced to use old tooling (Visual Studio 2008 or earlier) for development on these CE7 devices.
    bevcat
    • RE: Microsoft rolls out latest release of its operating system for ruggedized mobile devices

      @bevcat no silverlight on CE7 is in the managed runtime. BTW: C++ managed extensions don't exist on CE at all, never have, so silverlight could have never been used via C++ with .NetCF. And .NetCF 3.5 doesn't support it, only .NetCF 3.7 and above.
      TGGR
  • Is Windows EH 6.5 so fragile? :-O

    that it requires ruggedized mobile devices to run?

    I might be missing something... ;-)
    Solid Water
  • RE: Microsoft rolls out latest release of its operating system for ruggedized mobile devices

    Junk OS 2.0
    james347
  • RE: Microsoft rolls out latest release of its operating system for ruggedized mobile devices

    This sounds like a confusing array of mobile operating systems from Microsoft. All of these mobile variants should provide some level or binary or API compatibility, and they already do, then they desperately need to be rebranded.
    the.ksmm
  • Will a ruggedized handheld OS make up for a failing Windows Phone 7?

    I hate to be the disgruntled guest at the party but I don't see what all the hype is.

    Except for industrial purposes Windows Mobile and the handheld OS are dead in the consumer market. The successor "Windows Fone 7" was a marketing flop - consumers don't want a Zune integration because they didn't waste their money on a Zune in the first place.

    I don't see why MSFT just doesn't give up on the mobile/tablet space as they've been clearly beat by all other vendors in the space (Apple iPhone, iPod, iPad: BlackBerry & Playbook:Android & Android Tablets) Heck even Nokia is still beating Microsoft 10:1 and Nokia isn't even in the race!
    steve4k
  • RE: Microsoft rolls out latest release of its operating system for ruggedized mobile devices

    etoanj,good post!
    homeioy47-24353613598771685986195790169411