Microsoft promises more Windows Embedded Compact 7 updates

Microsoft has revealed several Windows Embedded Compact 7 updates, one planned for the fourth quarter of this year and one for the second half of 2012. Next year’s version will get an updated kernel, faster file system, and broader hardware support, according to an EE Times report.
A 9:30 a.m. keynote was delivered Oct. 26 at the ARM TechCon show in Santa Clara, Calif. by Microsoft’s Dan Javnozon, group product manager for the Windows Embedded marketing group. At the time, we were up north in our Palo Alto batcave getting other news stories out, so we’re grateful to EE Times for reporting on what transpired.

According to writer Rick Merritt, Javnozon spilled the beans regarding two pending updates to Windows Embedded Compact 7. Building on an “Windows Embedded Compact 7 Update 3″ version that was released last month — see later — the revisions suggest that the Windows CE-based operating system won’t be left forgotten in the wake of an ARM-powered Windows 8.

Microsoft’s Dan Javnozon announcing Windows Embedded Compact 7 updates

Source: EE Times
Javnozon, pictured above, is said to have promised a Compact 7 update for the fourth quarter of this year, though apparently no details were provided. In addition, Merritt writes, he promised “Compact v.Next” for the second half of 2012 — with an updated kernel, faster file system, and “broader hardware support.”

Compact v.Next will also get boosted real-time capabilities, EE Times reports. But in a brief post-keynote interview, Javnozon declined to provide further specifics, the story added.

Microsoft’s most recent revision to Windows Embedded Compact 7 operating system was announced on Oct. 17. “Windows Embedded Compact 7 Update 3″ includes approximately 125 code defect fixes, several new tools for automating testing, and available Silverlight source code for the operating system’s media player, according to the company.

Windows Embedded Compact 7 was first announced in June 2010 as a significant upgrade to the previous Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R3. New features included multicore support, an upgraded Internet Explorer web browser, Adobe Flash support, user interface (UI) development via Silverlight, and the ability to share and manage content across DLNA (digital living network alliance) devices.

The operating system runs not only on x86 processors like its big brother Windows 7, but also on other architectures such as ARM — including the multicore Cortex-A9 — and MIPS. (However, Microsoft notes, Hitachi’s SH4 is no longer supported by this particular Windows CE variant, and ARMv5 is the earliest supported ARM architecture.)

According to an Oct. 17 blog entry by Olivier Bloch, chief software architect for Windows Embedded, Windows Embedded Compact 7 Update 3 is now freely downloadable. He wrote that the new release contains “approximately 125 code defect fixes” for the Compact 7 operating system, Platform Builder tools, and the Compact Test Kit (CTK).

The installer for Microsoft’s Windows Embedded Compact 7
The CTK has two new tools, Bloch adds: The Compact Automation Tool Solution (CATS) for automating test scenarios, and The Compact Stress Tool for automating stress tests. Also now included is new Silverlight for Windows Embedded (SWE) sample code for the Compact 7 Media Player, which was previously provided only in binary format. A previous dependency on the compositor in the sample code has been removed, so Media Player performance should be improved across all hardware configurations, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft originally promoted Windows Embedded Compact 7 as “bringing the power of Windows 7 across … specialized devices such as slates, portable media players, and others.” Indeed, the operating system was shown off last year on an early version of the Asus Eee Pad EP101TC (below), a tablet that was later revamped to run Android instead.

The Asus Eee Pad EP101TC originally ran Windows Embedded Compact 7
Since then, both the progress of Android devices and the announcement of a pending, ARM-based version of Windows 8 has caused Redmond to lower its sights — or so it would appear. Thanks to its low cost, simpler hardware requirements, modularity, and real-time characteristics, however, Windows Embedded Compact 7 will continue to find customers, or so its supporters argue.


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