Microsoft Offers Preview of Next Windows CE

This week, Microsoft unveiled a beta version of Windows CE 6, the newest version of its compact Windows OS aimed at embedded and mobile devices. Windows CE 6 is backward-compatible with previous Windows CE versions but has several new features and capabilities. Microsoft expects to ship the final version of Windows CE 6 later this year.

"We're excited to celebrate the 10-year milestone of Windows CE by offering a new version of our software that will fuel the future of smart connected devices around the world," said Microsoft's Corporate Vice President Suzan DelBene, who introduced the OS at Microsoft's annual Mobile & Embedded DevCon in Las Vegas this week. "Once again, we've improved the technologies and tools we provide to developers to speed time to market and help to differentiate their products and services."

Microsoft has completely rebuilt Windows CE 6 with a new kernel, and the OS can now support as many as 32,000 simultaneous processes--a huge jump from the previous limit of 32 processes. Each software process can use its own 2GB address space, Microsoft says. These changes--along with the ability for developers to use a Visual Studio 2005 plug-in to target Windows CE 6 applications--will make Windows CE 6 more viable for next-generation devices, such as set-top boxes, GPS-based mobile phones, PDAs, and various vertical devices that target markets such as industrial automation.

Windows CE 6 is the basis of Windows Mobile 6 (code-named "Crossbow"), which Microsoft will aim at smart phones and PDAs. Windows Mobile 6 is due in late 2006. A future version of Windows Mobile 6, code-named "Photon," is expected in late 2007.

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