Microsoft has released it Windows CE .NET version 4.2 to manufacturing. Previously code-named 'McKendric', CE .NET 4.2 is a real-time operating system with tools for creating connected and small-footprint devices.
Added to this version are features for gateway, voice over IP (VoIP) — see ESE May 2003 page 14 — and set-top box (STB) devices along with faster performance and improved application compatibility for a range of consumer and commercial embedded devices.
More than 60 companies participated in the Microsoft Joint Development Partner program for Windows CE .NET 4.2, providing customer feedback and kick-starting delivery of a range of devices based on the new operating system.
The latest version has improved security and kernel enhancements including a faster compression engine and flexible cache flushing. Windows CE .NET 4.2 also increases the number of lines of source code available in the box to over 2million to assist developers with debugging and device bring up.
The gateway, VoIP and STB features target the needs of device manufacturers to creating devices with communication, data and voice requirements. New features include support for Internet Protocol Firewall and Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP), Internet Protocol Security (IPsec), and the Telephony User Interface, which provides a fully integrated and telephony-specific graphical user interface.
Integrated browsing and multimedia includes the inclusion of Internet Explorer 6 for Windows CE and Microsoft Windows Media 9 Series codecs that provide an instant-on, always-on, playback digital media experience for broadband users.
The .NET Compact Framework enables rapid, managed code development for devices, leveraging desktop development tools. Windows CE .NET 4.2 also provides improved API compatibility across Windows CE-based devices, including the Pocket PC software platform.
A CD containing 18 third-party solutions from eight Windows Embedded partners is provided. These additional components include board support packages (BSPs), hardware-specific device drivers and profiling tools to offer additional, out-of-the-box software options for embedded developers.
Microsoft has also introduced a low-cost license, Windows CE .NET 4.2 Core, with an estimated retail price of $3. This enables device manufacturers to use the OS across a range of products, including low-cost commercial and consumer devices.
There is also a new free, noncommercial distribution license for Windows CE .NET 4.2, which helps embedded partners, developers and device manufacturers share device images based on Windows CE for free or noncommercial devices, which should lead to greater innovation and cooperation throughout the development community.
Published in Embedded Systems Europe June 2003