Microsoft launched the component-based, embedded version of Windows XP yesterday, a full 2 months ahead of schedule. Windows XP Embedded (XPe) extends the Windows platform to a new range of devices, including thin clients, cash registers, ATM machines, point of sale (PoS) devices, casino gaming machines, television set-top boxes, and just about anything else that can take advantage of Windows' rich feature set and connect to other devices or network servers. XPe supports the Internet and multimedia technologies from its more full-featured desktop-based XP cousins, as well as wireless-networking capabilities and security. Microsoft executives say that XPe's interconnectivity ties nicely into the company's .NET plans.
"We committed to providing the latest Windows technologies to our embedded customers within 90 days of the general availability of Windows XP, and we are excited to launch Windows XP Embedded ahead of that commitment, within 35 days," said Microsoft Group Vice President Jim Allchin during his keynote address yesterday at the Windows Embedded Developers Conference in Las Vegas. "With our free evaluation kit, promotional tools pricing, and in-depth training curriculum, there's no better time for embedded developers to start building their next-generation, smart, connected devices."
XPe is based on the XP code base but uses a component-based design that lets developers easily choose only the features they need, keeping the memory footprint low for connected devices. Allchin noted that XPe users can choose from more than 10,000 components that use as little as 4.8MB of RAM; a fully configured system with UI, Internet Explorer (IE) 6, Windows Media Player 8 (WMP8), Terminal Server client, USB support, and SNMP support uses only 70MB of space. Microsoft is touting the wide range of companies and products that use the new system, including Bally Gaming and its EVO slot machines; Windows-based terminals from Compaq, Neoware, Wyse, and others; Fujitsu set-top boxes; NCR ATMs; and many others.
Developers interested in XPe can download an evaluation copy and find more information on the Microsoft Web site.