Back in November 2012, Microsoft officials said the first of its Windows Embedded 8 offerings would be available in March. Right on schedule, on March 20, the two primary SKUs of Microsoft's latest embedded Windows product family were made available for download.
Windows Embedded 8 is a componentized version of Windows 8 with additional technologies that adapt Windows for use in and on specialized devices.
Windows Embedded 8 Standard and Windows Embedded 8 Pro are available immediately for OEMs interested in building devices and systems with Windows 8 inside. The releases will be available on http://www.getwindowsembedded8.com. Windows Embedded 8 Standard also is available from Microsoft's Download Center.
Another of the Windows Embedded 8 family members -- Windows Embedded 8 Industry, which is for retail point-of-service (POS) and other manufacturing and healthcare systems -- will be available the week of April 1.
There's no additional availability information being shared today on the other Windows Embedded 8 SKUs, including the Windows Embedded 8 Handheld operating system or the Windows Embedded 8 Automotive release. In January, Microsoft officials said 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."
Microsoft announced five initial partners -- Motorola Solutions, Intermec, Honeywell, Ingenico and Bluebird -- are building ruggedized phones using Embedded 8 Handheld.
Windows Embedded Compact 2013, the product that is the successor to Windows Embedded Compact 7, is due out in the second quarter of 2013, officials have said.