Microsoft opts for Windows 7 for next embedded release

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Microsoft opts for Windows 7 for next embedded release

Microsoft has confirmed that the next version of Windows Embedded will be built on Windows 7.

Codenamed Quebec, the platform will include Silverlight 2 and Windows Presentation Foundation, and will be compatible with Visual Studio 2010 to support connected devices requiring rich applications and access to web-based services.

Windows Embedded is Microsoft's platform for devices such as terminals, network appliances and kiosks.

The current line-up consists of Windows Embedded Standard, based on Windows XP, and Windows Embedded Compact, based on the code that underpins Windows Mobile in smartphones.

Quebec will be the next version of Windows Embedded Standard and will similarly consist of componentised code that lets vendors include just those bits of Windows that are required for their product and its applications.

Because it is based on Windows 7, future devices and appliances will be able to take advantage of many of the technologies that are coming with the next version of the desktop platform.

These include the latest Microsoft Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation tools for a richer user experience, according to Microsoft, and improved stability and performance. Windows 7 is expected to make better use of processors with more than two cores, for example.

The touch-based user interface coming in Windows 7 is also likely to prove useful for point-of-sale terminals and other environments where a standard keyboard and mouse would not be appropriate.

"Windows Embedded Quebec will provide OEMs with the ability to further differentiate their devices by taking rich user experiences to the next level with exciting new input capabilities through multi-touch, gesture support and user interface enhancements," said Kevin Dallas, general manager of the Windows Embedded business unit.

Quebec will also have better security through the extended BitLocker drive encryption and Internet Explorer 8 with its beefed-up malware defences and InPrivate browsing mode.

The announcement could also be seen as further evidence of the sidelining of Windows Vista. While Vista is available under a licence for embedded applications, Microsoft has not delivered a componentised version, so the 'true' embedded platform skips from XP straight to Windows 7.

Microsoft said in a statement that this is because the current Windows Embedded Standard 2009 includes key Vista features including Internet Explorer 7, .NET Framework 3.5 and Remote Desktop Protocol 6.1, even though it is based on Windows XP.

The company declined to specify a timeframe for shipping Quebec to vendors, but it is unlikely to be before Windows 7 itself, which many industry watchers expect to be delivered towards the end of 2009.
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