Microsoft delivers updated test build of embedded Windows 8 for point-of-sale systems

Microsoft delivers updated test build of embedded Windows 8 for point-of-sale systems

Summary: Microsoft is updating its Windows embedded roadmap again this week at the National Retail Federation show.


At the National Retail Federation (NRF) show in New York City this week, Microsoft and its embedded OEM partners are showing off updated versions of their products.


Microsoft offers for licensing quite a few different embedded operating systems with often-less-than-obvious names.

At NRF, the Redmondians announced the immediate availability of a new release-preview test build of the Windows Embedded 8 Industry product. (Windows Embedded 8 Industry is the renamed Microsoft Windows POSReady 7, its point-of-sale optimized solution.)

Microsoft and some of the handful of OEMs using its Windows Embedded 8 Handheld product also are at NRF this week. (There are currently five partners building around Embedded 8 Handheld: Motorola Solutions, Intermec, Honeywell, Ingenico and Bluebird.) 

There's no new version of the Embedded 8 Handheld operating system being released this week. But Microsoft officials are saying to expect the first ruggedized handheld phones running this operating system to be in the market in late 2013 or early 2014. The Windows Embedded 8 Handheld software development kit (SDK) will be out "later this year," officials said on January 14.

Windows Embedded 8 Handheld is built on the Windows Phone 8 core. Developers interested in writing applications for Windows Embedded 8 Handheld ruggedized devices can use the Windows Phone 8 SDK to do so. Because of the compatibility with Windows Phone 8, these devices will be able to support off-the-shelf business and productivity apps like Microsoft Lync, Office 365 and Dynamics for Retail, officials said.

Microsoft officials said late last year that Windows Embedded 8 Standard, which is based on the Windows 8 core code, should be available in final form in March 2013. Windows Embedded 8 Pro also is slaed to be generally available in March 2013. Windows Embedded Compact 2013 -- the product that is the successor to Windows Embedded Compact 7 -- is due out in the second quarter of 2013.

Even though Windows Embedded 8 Handheld is based on the Windows Phone, and not the complete Windows codebase, the messaging around it fits in with the Windows Phone/Windows positioning. Microsoft's goal is to offer embedded developers a single platform, even if applications need to be recompiled to run. Because the interface is similar, training costs should be lower, said John Doyle, Director of Product Marketing for Windows Embedded.

Microsoft has moved away from allowing OEMs to license any of the Windows Embedded SKUs for use in tablets of any kind. Any companies interested in creating Windows tablets have to license the full Windows operating system, Doyle confirmed.

"We have the complete Windows 8 wave of products, which can be used to address everything in this (embedded) space," Doyle added.

Microsoft also unveiled a new version of Microsoft Dynamics for Retail at NRF on January 14. (I've asked for more details on this release. If/when I hear back, I'll update this post.)   The new version is available to customers as of January 14. The core of this release is based on Dynamics AX 2012 R2, which was made available in December 2012.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows 8, Windows Phone


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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  • Mary Jo

    Id like for you to write about the Dynamics suite road map. With everyone fighting over phones we dont see match anymore about enterprise erp systems anymore. Ms has now mostly caught up wth oracle and sap business platforms.
    Master Wayne
    • Dynamics ERP road map

      Hi. I've been writing periodically about what MS is doing on the ERP front. Here's the most recent thing I've done:

      Hope this helps. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • yes

        I read this one back in december. It was very intructive. Thank you
        Master Wayne
      • yes

        I read this one back in december. It was very intructive. Thank you
        Master Wayne
      • yes

        I read this one back in december. It was very intructive. Thank you
        Master Wayne
    • Enterprise ERP systems featured in MS EPG customer magazines

      Hey Master Wayne,
      Hope you're well?
      For information about enterprise road maps, have a look at the Microsoft EPG customer magazines at
      We are actually featuring Dynamics AX business stories with Lotus F1 and the City of Plymouth in the upcoming issues of Prime and Touch respectively! I think that you would find these of real interest!

  • been there done that

    There's an acronym I have in mind here for 'POS' and it ain't point-of-sale. There are much better choices in OSs for embedded devices. I'm not namining names but there's no need to sign away your first born just so you can possibly run Word on your embedded system.
    • im curious

      Please name a few of those pos os that are better than microsofts. Say some names.
      Master Wayne
      • Linux

        is very popular in POS systems over here. At the local Edeka, you can always see the friendly penguin on the display, when the cashier is not logged in.

        We provide industrial terminals to the food industry, about 80% run LTSP (remote boot Linux), the rest run Windows 7 Embedded.
    • Probably done that more than you know....

      If you've gone to Safeway, Loblaws, or most other supermarkets with self-checkout, you've seen Windows Embedded in action. Most of those tills are Windows Embedded devices.

      Considering the volume that they handle without issue, I'd say Windows Embedded is a pretty solid platform.

      As far as running "Word" on it, well, I don't think you could run Word on these devices even if you wanted to - but that's not really the point either. The real power is in the ability of these devices to back-end to a large accounting/supply chain system such as MS Dynamics.

      But sure, I guess the better IT solution is just to forget all that and just go for your idea of a "better choice in OS for an embedded device" because. Well. It's better. Even though you don't name one or explain "how" it is better.
      • dynamics has come a long way

        I work primarily with oracle on the enterprise but there's really no reason anymore. Dynamics has caught up now with them, and the pricing favors dynamic deployment.
        Master Wayne
      • Commenting just for the fun of it..

        Is that by chance Bob Loblaw's? (Arrested Development reference)
    • How many...

      cash machines have you seen running Word? Or POS terminals.

      It isn't about running MS Office or other major software packages, it is about providing a locked down experience, where the user can't fiddle with settings and where a specific program is the "shell" or the user has a limited number of pre-installed apps which help them do their job.

      These are generally custom written applications. Given the vast number of programmers that can write software for Windows, it isn't really surprising that a lot of companies opt for Windows based terminals for such tasks.

      That said, most of our customers take our LTSP Linux terminals, although more and more are starting to ask for Windows terminals - especially those reliant on SAP.