Following on the heels of Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2) comes Windows XP Embedded SP2. It's not shipping yet, but it will within 90 days of the ship date of the desktop version of SP2, according to product manager John Starkweather of Microsoft's Mobile and Embedded Devices Division.
In a second announcement Microsoft has also said that Windows Embedded for Point of Service, a new standardized software platform for POS terminals will be released next year.
Windows XP Embedded with Service Pack 2 is delivered in componentized form for small-footprint devices, such as point-of-service (POS) kiosks, medical systems, and thin clients. It contains more than 10,000 individual feature components, according to the company, to help device makers optimize software functionality in embedded devices.
Like the desktop version, SP2 embedded has enhanced security features and added stronger default security settings. “Security is our number one priority,” said Starkweather. Windows Firewall is activated by default in the new version. The redesigned firewall will help safeguard devices by giving users and administrators more control over inbound connections. Computer Associates International Inc. and Sygate Inc. have contributed to antivirus and intrusion prevention.
Since the operating system is componentized, developers will have greater control over how it communicates over a network, said Starkweather. The service pack enables devices to communicate via several communications technologies, such as Remote Desktop Protocol v5.2.
Software Update Services (SUS) support is designed to increase customers' ability to integrate devices across networks, with the goal of lowering maintenance costs and simplifying configuration. SUS will enable automatic scanning and deployment of Microsoft-issued security updates on Windows XP Embedded-based devices. Microsoft Systems Management Server enables companies to remotely update applications from a centralized location.
Microsoft says that the service pack will foster developer innovation by enabling them to create applications and services for devices that can take advantage of DirectX 9. The service pack will also include Bluetooth networking support and a new quick-boot feature, a hibernation mode designed reduce device startup and shutdown times. It will also support VenturCom's RTX and Ready-On capabilities.
Developers can download Windows XP Embedded with SP2 Technology Preview from the Windows Embedded Web site. To fulfill the Microsft promise of making tembedded technologies available withing 90 days of the client release, Windows XP Embedded SP2 will ship in the second half of 2004.
In the second Microsoft announcement, Windows Embedded for Point of Service, a new standardized software platform for POS terminals, which will be based on Windows XP Embedded with SP2, will be released during the first half of 2005. The platform will be targeted at retail and hospitality organizations. Thirty OEMs and ISVs are currently previewing it. Starkweather said that principal features will include plug-and-lay, hooks for RFID and biometrics support, and easy setup.