There are a number of press announcements at the Embedded Systems Conference Silicon Valley (ESC West) this week (link to the Microsoft Press Pass site)

The first announcement is the renaming of the Windows Embedded Family - the new naming will take effect with new releases of each product, naming is as follows.

Windows Embedded CE == Windows Embedded Compact

Windows XP Embedded == Windows Embedded Standard

"Classic" desktop operating systems with Embedded licensing == Windows Embedded Enterprise

For operating systems and technologies that target a specific industry segment you will start to see products appearing under the name of _____Ready - for example, the product "Windows Embedded for Point of Service" will become PosReady.

And in other news...

The "Spark your Imagination" program has now gone live! - Windows CE has traditionally focused on professional embedded developers, sure we've had the evaluation kits for developers to try out the development tools and operating system, but these time out after 180 days, which is ok for commercial developers to make a decision about moving forward with a Windows CE based project but isn't ideal for the community/academic/hobbyist developer. The Spark your Imagination program offers non-commercial developers low cost hardware (five hardware vendors are part of the program), and full versions of Visual Studio 2005, and the latest release of Windows CE (CE 6.0 R2) for the cost of the hardware.

Also, related to this is the Windows CE developer certification program - embedded developers really fall into one of two groups - those that develop low level code (BSP's and drivers), and those that customize operating systems and add value through applications and services - the Windows CE developer certification program gives embedded developers a way to show the level of knowledge they have for developing solutions on the Windows CE platform, and provides a way for customers to know that they are using partners and integrators that have knowledge of the Windows CE product.

We've also been busy working on the Windows Embedded web site - check out the new look and feel here.

- Mike