This week, Microsoft President and CEO Steve Ballmer opened the Windows Embedded Developers Conference (DevCon) with a keynote address that touched on the progress the company has made improving its embedded Windows offerings. According to Ballmer, Microsoft's Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group has been working on next-generation versions of its embedded versions of Windows CE (Talisker) and Windows XP (Whistler Embedded), while increasing the number of partners for its current-generation product line. And with the company's emphasis on .NET, Ballmer says Windows Embedded is poised to capture a key portion of the crucial non-PC device market.
"The embedded industry is a strong and exciting growth opportunity for Microsoft and for our embedded development partners," Ballmer said. "Smart devices represent a key opportunity to provide customers with a wide range of flexible solutions with rich applications and Internet services." Ballmer said that 4 million Windows CE-based Pocket PC devices will be sold this year.
Talisker and Whistler Embedded will give Microsoft a strong foundation for a wide range of .NET-enabled devices, Ballmer said. Talisker will feature a skinnable UI, built-in support for the Web, and high-end multimedia capabilities. Whistler Embedded is a componentized OS that is based on Windows XP and will support XML, Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), and compact PCI technology. He noted that top hardware makers are already working with Microsoft on new devices, and 200 companies are participating in the Whistler Embedded beta. Microsoft hopes to ship Whistler Embedded 90 days after Windows XP is released this fall; Talisker is also expected to ship late this year