It's new years eve, the end of quite an interesting year in the mobile and embedded world. Here's a quick look at some of the highlights.

Windows Embedded CE 6.0 released and available in Eval and Full product versions - this is the 10th anniversary of the initial Windows CE 1.0 release, things have really come a long way in 10 years. CE 6.0 continues to be a hard-real-time, componentized, small footprint embedded operating system that runs on a variety of processor architectures - the initial embedded release (version 2.0, 1998) shipped with a command line interface for building the operating system (which is still available in CE 6.0), components were only exposed through environment variables (such as "SYSGEN_HTTPD") at the command line, no UI based tools to configure/build the operating system, and WindBag as the debugger!

The early releases of Windows CE used the Windows CE Toolkit for Visual Basic and the Windows CE Toolkit for Visual C++ as the application development tools - these were plugins to Visual C++ 5.0 and Visual Basic 5.0 - The level of VB support was much closer to VBScript than to full Visual Basic support, thankfully things have moved on from the initial o/s and tools releases to the point where we have a fully integrated tool chain - Visual Studio 2005, with the CE 6.0 plugin - this gives one place to do everything - you can configure, build, download, debug, test, and write applications for your CE 6.0 based design all from one tool.

There are also some interesting new technologies added to CE 6.0 including CellCore, Remote Projector (works with Vista PC's/Laptops), and more...

Windows XP Embedded Service Pack 2 Feature Pack 2007 - The first update to Windows XP Embedded since the SP2 release, this release updates the tools (new command line interface for automated builds or interactive builds), updates to Target Designer (including easier to find Embedded Features), and new embedded specific features like the File Based Write Filter (similar to the existing Enhanced Write Filter but also allows read/write capability to specific files and folders) and USB 2.0 Boot - Also the Community Tech Preview of the Image Diff Tool, very nice! - Expect to see more from the Windows XP Embedded team in 2007.

.NET MicroFramework - During MEDC 2006 the .NET MicroFramework team hosted the Sumo Robot Competition and ran labs and sessions covering the architecture and programming model for the .NET MicroFramework - There's a NETMF book in the works - It will be interesting to see what comes out of the MicroFramework team over the next year, and also to see some of the devices running on the NETMF.

Microsoft Robotics Studio - First release of the Robotics Studio tools were also released in 2006, initially supporting Windows XP/Embedded as a first class citizen, and a range of other devices remotely controlled from the desktop. The uptake for Robotics studio has been amazing, just take a look at the list of Robot Manufacturers, Hardware Component Vendors, ISVs and solution providers

Zune - I've had a device to play with for a couple of months now and have enjoyed "the social" - sharing photos and tunes over an ad-hoc wi-fi connection has been quite interesting, and yes, I have found other people to share media with - sure they are in my building at work, but I can still find 'em and squirt music and photos over to their devices - the screen is excellent, I watched some TV shows on a recent round the world trip and of course have my music collection sync'd with the device - I've not had an iPod to compare against but I'm pretty happy with the whole Zune experience.

So what's happening in 2007 ? - I know for sure there's some travel coming up...

  • Feb - Embedded event in France, and Embedded World, Germany
  • March - Academic Training in Arizona
  • April - ESC West (San Jose)
  • May - MEDC 2007
  • June - International MEDC Events (I will post a list of locations/dates when these have been locked)
  • July - TechEd 2007 US Florida (Orange County Convention Center)

August looks like it's the first free month without travel for 2007! (I bet that will change though!)

Hope you had a great Christmas and look forward to a great 2007!

- Mike