In bed with embedded
One of the many things Microsoft and Intel have in common is an overwhelming need to adapt their business models to accommodate the mobile Internet era.
The two heavyweights have dominated the PC market almost from its inception, and continue to do so. But all the cool kids are moving to mobile these days, and both of them are currently struggling to come up with answers to innovations from Apple, Google and the ARM ecosystem.
So it's telling that at Computex 2010 - the last major PC-centric technology show of the year - both Intel and Microsoft have chosen to focus on their latest mobile offerings.
Microsoft has already launched its major overhaul of Windows Phone, and we expect to see handsets bearing it before the end of the year. But at Computex 2010 it had another mobile operating system up its sleeve - Windows Embedded Compact 7 - which it released as a public community technology preview (CTP) today.
This is the next generation of the Windows Embedded CE platform, which already crops up in a few areas such as in-vehicle infotainment. Windows Embedded Standard 7 was released recently (see roadmap below), and targets embedded CE applications like set-top boxes. The Compact flavour is aimed at tablets, slates, etc, as shown in the newly-launched ten inch ASUS Eee Pad.
Windows CE is also significant as the only derivation of full-fat Windows (as opposed to Windows Phone) that can run on ARM-based chips. "The Windows platform creates tangible opportunities for our hardware partners to diversify their product portfolios and deliver rich computing experiences across a broad range of devices," said Steve Guggenheimer, corporate VP of the OEM division at Microsoft.
"The Windows Embedded Compact 7 toolkit will allow for richer customer experiences on a variety of specialized devices. We look forward to continued collaboration with our hardware partners to bring the very best experiences to customers worldwide."