Microsoft Corporation announced Monday the availability of Windows NT 4.0 Embedded Edition, also referred to more simply as "NT Embedded." A new operating system based on Windows NT 4.0, NT Embedded is designed for a wide variety of applications including communication equipment, office automation devices, industrial/manufacturing systems, medical equipment, retail point-of-sale systems, and server appliances. Windows NT Embedded requires very little memory and uses a subset of the Win32 API programmers are used to.
Microsoft says that NT Embedded offers several advantages over existing embedding operating systems. First, of course, is the familiar Win32 API. And because of NT's built-in and pervasive networking features, NT Embedded offers simply connectivity with almost any kind of device.
"As 32-bit processors become commonplace in the embedded systems market, customers are demanding more functionality from these devices," said NT Embedded Product Manager Vince Mendillo. "They want better connectivity, richer features and scalability -- and developers want to meet those needs quickly. If you want to build this rich functionality and you're using a proprietary system, you have to start from scratch. But since Windows NT Embedded already has the rich Windows NT feature set, developers can provide more functionally rich solutions for their customers, using Microsoft development platforms like Visual Studio or any number of third-party tools. And because it's Windows NT, they can easily integrate those devices with the rest of their IT infrastructure."
The biggest question people are likely to have about NT Embedded is how it compares to Windows CE, Microsoft's other small footprint OS. Windows CE is geared more toward consumer devices such as handheld PCs, set-top boxes, game systems, and cellular communications devices. NT Embedded, meanwhile, is designed for an entirely different class of devices, such as routers and other server-type appliances.
For more information, please visit the Windows NT Embedded Web site