Wednesday, November 2, 2005


Windows Embedded Conference: Notes from Day 1

The first thing that struck me when the Windows Embedded conference started; embedded developers are different from .NET developers. No long haired, enthusiastic,C# developers here. The average age is easily 20 years higher and these engineers are a quiet and reserved bunch...

The were two hands on sessions in the afternoon but I followed the presentations. I will post the link to the slides when they are put on-line later this week. Below are some of my notes/impressions from the meetings.

The Windows Embedded family is larger than I expected. I knew of Windows CE.NET and Windows XP Embedded but I didn't know there were many flavors of Windows 2003 Server Embedded as well as a new "point of service" system (WEPos) targeted at point of sales systems like kiosks.

Some Windows CE.NET notes:

  • It is a Hard Real Time OS since version 4.2.

  • Supports many different processor architectures and is, of course, not binary compatible with Windows

  • A subset of the Win32 APIs have been written to the same specifications. This means that there are variations but things are a lot better than the first Windows CE versions.

  • The Platform Builder comes with source code for a several potions of Windows CE.NET which helps when writing drivers for your own hardware. More of the source code is available for free after signing the appropriate Microsoft documents.

  • Windows CE.NET is cheaper than I expected. The run time license for the core is ~$4.50 per client (~$3 for high volume). The cost goes up to ~$16 for the professional edition that includes Internet Explorer and the Media Player

  • You can lock down the Windows CE file system and to control which application can be launched.

The best presentation of the day was Windows CE 5.0 Technical Overview by Egidio Gioia (Arrow Silverstar). A lot of useful information by someone who knows the subject extremely well. He covered technical issues and hard learned lessons while skipping the marketing fluff. His monthly boot camps should be very interesting.

The Intel presentations were less useful for me as I work on software but it is always good to know what goes on below the hood. The PXA270 processor used in the latest Pocket PC has impressive power savings when it is in deep sleep mode.

The presentations tomorrow will focus on Windows XP Embedded.

Overall judgement? OKish.
Too much high level “marketing“ issues for my taste with the exception of Egidio's presentation.

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