Windows Embedded Compact 7 is finally out. But doesn't it really matter anymore?

After much delays Windows Embedded Compact 7 (formerly known as Windows CE 7) is now finally available to the public. But the real question now is: Does it still matter?  Lots of things have changed in the past couple of months that make this late release a bit underwhelming. First you have to remember that Windows Phone 7 is based on a different CE kernel (which is close to the CE 7 Kernel though) and developed by teams that are not even in the same business unit at Microsoft. As of right now the Windows Phone teams are probably closer to the Windows crew than the relatively small CE team. Secondly, the announcement that Windows 8 will run on ARM architectures is also seen as a nail in the coffin of Windows Embedded Compact primarily because Microsoft tablet strategy will be focused on bringing Windows 8 to the slate form factor and not CE + UI shell on top.

But there’s still a need for for thin clients especially in the enterprise sector and Microsoft has also recently shown that it’s planning to retire the regular HTPCs  concept (running Windows x86) and focus on CE  7 + Media Center set-top boxes instead. As it is usually the case with Microsoft there’s a lot of overlap between their products so it’s always hard to guess how thing will end up being in the months and years to come. How will the Windows Phone CE Kernel evolve? Will Windows 8 slates really be ready for a mid 2012 release? You can head over Mary Jo Foley’s blog for a closer look at this new Embedded Compact 7 release.

Here a some of the some of the features that CE 7 support:

* Support for ARM v7
* New developer and designer tools
* New technology for creating user interfaces
* New SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) support for x86 & ARM, MIPS
* New multimedia player, with customizable UI
* New version of Internet Explorer (which is based on IE 7 with some “performance updates” from IE 8)
* Flash 10.1 support (which requires an Adobe license by OEMs who want to include that feature)
* Silverlight for Embedded support
* Improved Connectivity to PCs, servers (NDIS 6.1 support)

source: Microsoft

  • Gust3

    Microsoft is completely off-the-rails with this. They signaled that there wasn’t going to be a Windows Phone 7 tablet, which was the logical bridge between the two platforms. Then they signaled that Windows 8 will be the new tablet in 2012 or likely 2013, much too late to stop the iPad world domination.

    Now, WEC7 doesn’t fit anywhere logically. It is an orphaned platform. I will not buy it at all. It makes no sense. There is no ecosystem. No app store. There could be hope with the Media Center version, but only as a CD or Blu-Ray entertainment unit.

  • TC

    by saying it doesnt have an app store says enough about ur knowledge..

  • Gust3

    Is there an app store? Right now? Is there a point you have?

    This is a new platform, which will soon be obsolete.

  • Anonymous

    The thing is that Windows Embedded Compact 7 (or what used to be Windows CE6) is not only relevant for tablets. A light-weight, modular, embedded OS is flexible enough to be used in all kinds of “appliance” devices, like your TV, Blu-ray player, Microwave, automated home system, etc.

    I’m seeing everyone sweat WEC7 because they can’t see how it fits into MS’s tablet strategy but the fact of the matter is this is much bigger than just tablets.

    I can easily see a future in which Microsoft’s “app marketplace” seamlessly transcends different screens and accommodates apps for all kinds of devices, unified by the managed Silverlight layer/platform they’ve built for WP7 (which actually runs on WEC7). So you’ll have apps running on your TV (either directly or via the Xbox), on your phone, your tablet, your PC, etc, all using the same Silverlight code base.

    I wish they’d hurry it up though. I for one can’t wait.