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.

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Windows Embedded Compact 7 delayed

 

Microsoft is apparently delaying the launch of Windows Embedded Compact 7 according to company’s spokesperson. Embedded Compact 7 formerly known as Windows CE 7 was rumored to be the kernel on which Windows Phone 7 is based on but so far Microsoft has never officially commented on this matter and today’s statement doesn’t shed any new light on this matter:

“The general availability date for Windows Embedded Compact 7 has been moved from the fourth quarter of this year to the first quarter of next year (2011). ”

Windows Embedded Compact 7 is also supposed to be used to build ARM based tablets and slates, unfortunately there’s nothing new on this front either besides the early prototypes that Asus unveiled a few months go. Microsoft seems to be focus on Windows 7 instead and hoping that Intel’s upcoming Oak-Trail CPUs will enabled OEMS to build iPad competitors (Windows 7′s UI isn’t gonna cut it IMO and we probably won’t see anything really competitive before the launch of Windows 8 in 2012).

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Microsoft signs ARM architecture licensing deal. Getting in the chip business?

Microsoft is announcing today that it has signed a deal to license the ARM architecture allowing the company to design its own micro architecture around the ARM IP. Is Microsoft getting in the chip business like Qualcomm, Marvell,  Apple? This announcement will surely fuel a lot of speculation about Microsoft future mobile strategy. The company claims that this deal will enhance its research and development around Arm-based products but other details about it are confidential. Full press release after the break:

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Microsoft announces Windows Embedded Handheld mobile OS

In a move that is sure to confuse everybody, Microsoft is today announcing the launch of Windows Embedded Handheld which is basically a handled/phone/mobile version of Windows Embedded Compact (check out the chart above to have a better idea of what’s going on). This “new” OS aimed and the enterprise / rugged mobile market will start shipping this calendar year in conjunction with the launch of the Motorola ES400 and will be based on Windows Mobile 6.5. Starting in Q2 2011 a newer version based on the recently unveiled Windows Embedded Compact 7 will be launched. Check out Steve Ballmer’s video followed by the full press release after the break:

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Microsoft shows off Windows Embedded Compact 7 (Windows CE 7) tablet with Metro-Like UI


It looks nice, it is made by Microsoft themselves and it will never see the light of the day. Nice isn’t it? The boys at Engadget had the opportunity to get a closer look (really close and blurry as you will see in the video) at a Windows Embedded Compact 7 (Windows CE 7) prototype tablet powered by and nVidia Tegra 2 SoC with a UI build by Microsoft that looks a tiny bit like Metro and WMC. Unfortunately this thing was just build to show off what can be done with CE 7 and OEMs will have to do their on thing with their hardware. Reminds you of something? yup, Windows Mobile. What is happening to WinMo? It’s dying a slow death and Windows Phone 7 is going to take over from there. And what’s the big news in WP7 ? OEMs can’t customize the UI and will have to keep MS’s interface. You got to wonder what goes on in Redmond sometimes. One thing to note though is that Windows Phone 7 is what it is because Microsoft decided to merge several divisions together (Zune Team + WinMo + a bit of XBOX Live Team) and the the CE team is still fairly independent. Maybe it’s time to shake things up a little bit and thightly integrate the CE divisions with the Windows Phone crew (they are already working with the same Kernel!)? Check out the video after the break:

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Windows Embedded Compact 7 (Windows CE 7) is officially unveiled, CTP available for download


Microsoft has officially publicly unveiled Windows Embedded Compact 7 (AKA Windows CE 7) today. The Windows Embedded Compact 7 CTP is now publicaly available for download.

Seamless connectivity
Get the technologies you need to seamlessly connect to rich media, online services, Windows PCs, smartphones, and other handheld devices.

Connect and consume rich media:
Simplify media management with new Media Library
Richer media streaming with updated MPEG-4 and HD support
Flexible plugin architecture to support third-party content

Seamless connection to Microsoft Windows 7:
Simplify device management with integrated Windows Device Stage
Synchronize data and media with support for MTP

Connect to Office and personal information:
Updated Office viewers
Updated AirSync and Microsoft Exchange support

Rich user experiences
You’ll have the power to deliver innovative solutions that reinvent the way end users interact with devices.

Extensible rich UI framework:
Rich, intuitive device user interfaces with Silverlight for Windows Embedded
A seamless designer experience with Microsoft Expression Blend
Rapidly extend and customize device UI with tighter integration of XAML code generators

Rich desktop browsing:
Updated Internet Explorer browsing engine with support for latest standards
Support for tabs, panning, and zooming
Access to rich multimedia content with support for Adobe Flash 10.1

Immersive experiences with natural touch input:
Build highly interactive devices with support for touch input
Multi-touch integrated with browser for mobile device experiences
Extend the power of the device with support for custom gestures

A highly reliable platform
Here’s how you can build solutions and devices with tools and technologies that you can trust every step of the way.

Streamlined developer experience with Visual Studio integration:
Visual Studio and Expression Blend tools to rapidly bring new devices to market
Simplify delivery of feature updates with integrated Windows Embedded Developer Update
Updated setup experience with minimal user intervention

Take advantage of the latest HW innovations:
Support for latest ARM v7 architectures
Increased graphics performance with Open GL ES 2.0
Higher performance with multicore architecture and support for SMP

Increased reliability, higher performance:
Increased networking performance with latest Windows 7 networking technologies
Reliable wireless connectivity and WiFi support
Bluetooth support (2.1) with connectivity to latest devices

Windows Phone 7 is supposedly based on the same CE 7 kernel and as you can see from the features listed above, both OS are quite similar. You can grab the CTP here.

Full Press Release after the break:

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