October 2010

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Microsoft To Release New Versions of CE and WM

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Microsoft To Release New Versions of CE and WM

Confused about the future of Microsoft Windows® Embedded CE (CE) and Windows Mobile® (WM)? We asked Summit partner BSQUARE to provide an update on Microsoft's premier operating systems for business-critical mobile devices. (Note: Pages on the Microsoft Web site may not display properly on a browser other than Internet Explorer.)

CE vs. WM Microsoft positions CE as a toolkit with robust developer tools and a componentized, real-time operating system for enterprise handheld devices. Microsoft positions WM as a compact operating system that powers connected mobile devices.

From the point of view of the underlying architecture, WM is a superset of CE. WM 6.x is built on CE 5.0 and includes additional telephony software such as a Dialer and applications like email. While CE is available to any device manufacturer, WM requires special Microsoft approval and licensing.

A device manufacturer chooses CE when it needs a highly customizable platform from system-level software to user interface to display size. WM is the choice when the device maker needs a consistent application programming interface (API_ set to provide application portability across devices and a familiar and consistent user experience delivered on specified display sizes.

Next Version of CE The current release of CE is CE 6.0 R3. With the next version, Microsoft is renaming CE to Windows Embedded Compact. Microsoft officially unveiled Compact 7 in early June at Computex.

In addition to the current features of CE 6.0 R3, Compact 7 provides Multitouch capability and updated support for gestures and Silverlight, enabling device makers to develop rich, immersive user interfaces.

WM This page compares the three most recent versions of WM, all of which have CE 5.0 (not CE 6.0) at their core.

For smartphones, the next release of WM is Windows Phone 7. Phones running Windows Phone 7 will make their debut this quarter. The Windows Phone home page has “windowsmobile” in its URL, and Microsoft positions Windows Phone 7 as the successor to WM 6.5, even though Phone 7 does not run WM 6.5 applications. Microsoft's positioning caused makers of non-phone enterprise and industrial devices to question Microsoft’s commitment to their devices.

Microsoft addressed the concerns of device makers by announcing a new operating system, Windows Embedded Handheld, optimized for enterprise and industrial devices. The first release of Windows Embedded Handheld will be built on WM 6.5 and will offer management and security functions and an extended support life cycle. A follow-on version, Windows Embedded Handheld 7, will be based on Windows Embedded Compact 7.

Thanks to BSQUARE Senior Solutions Architect Mike Cannon for writing the majority of this article. If you have questions about which Microsoft operating system is best for your device, then contact the experts at BSQUARE In addition to expertise, BSQUARE offers:

  • WM: System integration services, licensing, training, and products for device manufacturers using WM who plan to adopt the Windows Embedded Handheld operating system
  • CE: System integration services, training, and products for device manufacturers moving from CE to Windows Embedded Compact 7
BSQUARE will distribute licenses for Windows Embedded Compact 7 in North America.