I know Andy has been posting like a fiend to our new Embedded team blog so I am going to jump in while I can.

Last week I attended the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) West in San Francisco. I shared the duty of manning the XP Embedded desk in the Microsoft booth. This was the first conference I had attended and it was a wonderful experience for me for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it gave me a chance to interact face-to-face with many of our customers and partners- this is not as common as it should be for members of a product team and is one of the reasons why I really enjoy being part the Embedded team. This is a perfect opportunity to get a better understanding of what customers like and dislike in our product, what challenges they face, what they would like to see in future versions of the product and what their visions are for their devices or platforms. These reasons will always be lodged in the back of my mind now as I write Test Plans or test case for XP Embedded or future versions, and give credence to why certain bugs get written or need to be fixed.

Secondly, it gave me a chance to see and play with a variety of Embedded devices. I know this might sound strange coming from a tester of the XPe product, but, although we do have a number of “real-world” devices in our test lab (and we are always looking to expand this number with new devices), there are so many inventive and unique ways that customers are using our product that it is not possible to know all the devices out there.
Thirdly, it allows me to better understand some of the things our competitors are doing so that I can have a broader understanding of the market place.

My one disappointment was that we did not have enough traffic at the XPe desk to keep me busy 100% of the time- a lot of it was passing traffic heading to the Windows CE desk! Unfortunately it seems that a lot of people still think there is only one embedded offering at Microsoft. It just goes to show we still have a lot of work ahead of us to get the word out as to who we are and what we offer; attending events like ESC West and contributing to this blog is my small part!

Here are some of the press releases at ESC West from our partners:

- Lynda Allen