Microsoft unveils its latest real-time operating system

Software giant Microsoft has rolled out its long awaited real-time operating system for embedded applications, Windows CE3.0. The system is aimed at factory automation and process control applications, where users want PC functionality embedded into factory floor-level devices. Unlike previous versions, CE3.0 is a new operating system rather than a cut down version of the […]

Software giant Microsoft has rolled out its long awaited real-time operating system for embedded applications, Windows CE3.0. The system is aimed at factory automation and process control applications, where users want PC functionality embedded into factory floor-level devices.

Unlike previous versions, CE3.0 is a new operating system rather than a cut down version of the existing Windows NT system. It comes with a set of tools which will enable system developers to build embedded devices incorporating dynamic applications and internet services.

According to Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, the strategy for Windows-embedded products and services centres on giving developers more powerful, customisable platforms, as well as a complete top-to-bottom selection of services and technologies for embedded systems.

`We are entering the PC-plus era,’ Gates said. `This will be a time when we see an amazing proliferation of small, connected devices that will be commonly used at home and at work.

Microsoft’s Windows-embedded technologies are becoming increasingly important to developers who need to provide access to information through their applications, across an array of `smart’ devices.’

The traditional PC market is expanding as more single-purpose devices are launched. These take the form of `intelligent’ appliances such as pocket PCs and web-enabled cell phones in the consumer sector. A more connected customer base is driving demand for devices that are compatible with other systems – whether they communicate over corporate networks, the internet or via the latest wireless technologies.

The personal computer and embedded systems industries are converging. Shorter development cycles and a greater emphasis on feature-rich services means developers are increasingly turning to products such as Windows CE3.0 for preconfigured components which can be quickly assembled as the foundation of an embedded system.

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