Microsoft today unveiled its product road map for Windows Embedded 8 and Windows Embedded Compact 2013.
Microsoft also made the Windows Embedded 8 Standard release preview available for download
Windows Embedded General Manager Kevin Dallas calls out Microsoft's "big transition" from being a software company to a devices and services company.
"Faced with the explosion of business data, enterprises are looking for better alternatives to help them unlock the information inside," Dallas says. "Microsoft's broad set of technologies and products make it uniquely qualified to help address this problem. We're working with our partners to create solutions that extend across the full breadth of Microsoft technologies and provide customers with the clarity they need to harness big data."
Windows Embedded 8 is the family of device operating systems, including Windows Embedded 8 Standard, Windows Embedded 8 Pro and Windows Embedded 8 Industry.
Windows Embedded 8 supports a growing range of applications, device form factors, architectures and system requirements. In parallel, Windows Embedded Compact 2013 will support small footprint devices that require flexible hardware, the use of touch- and gesture-based inputs and hard, real-time support. Windows Embedded Compact 2013 will be generally available in the second quarter of 2013, and, along with Windows Embedded 8, will feature support for Visual Studio 2012.
With Windows Embedded 8, Microsoft is also incorporating the same features found in Windows 8 - most notably, the use of touch and gesture.
- Windows Embedded 8 Standard (Release preview available now; general availability in March 2013)
Windows Embedded 8 Standard is a flexible, modular, version of Windows 8 that gives enterprises the freedom to choose which parts of the operating system they need for their requirements. Devices can also be locked down to block certain gestures.
- Windows Embedded 8 Pro (General availability in March 2013)
Like its predecessor, Windows 7 for Embedded Systems, Windows Embedded 8 Pro delivers the full power and familiarity of the Windows operating system. Enterprises can create industry-certified solutions, without concern for application and device compatibility.
- Windows Embedded 8 Industry (Community technology preview and details on timing will be available in January 2013)
Historically, Windows Embedded POSReady has targeted retail point-of-service (POS) solutions. Moving forward, Microsoft will deliver the power of Windows 8 technologies to these and other scenarios requiring fixed experiences with enhanced lockdown, branding and the other benefits of Windows Embedded 8 - including peripheral support to other industry-specific scenarios, such as manufacturing and healthcare, in addition to POS.
- Windows Embedded 8 Handheld (More information will be available in early 2013)
The next generation of Windows Embedded Handheld will be based on Windows Phone 8 technologies. Microsoft is working with partners to bring new features and capabilities to the enterprise handheld device market.
- Windows Embedded 8 Automotive (More information will be available in early 2013)
Microsoft is working with a group of preselected partners on the next generation of Windows Embedded Automotive, which will be based on Windows 8 technologies.