At the Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose last week the "Spark your Imagination" program was launched - This gives non-professional developers (ok, so you might be a professional developer by day, but just like Clark Kent have an embedded hobbyist developer inside you just waiting to get out) access to low cost hardware, and the software development tools you need to build/debug/deploy custom Windows CE operating system images, and the application development software (Visual Studio 2005) to write applications for the embedded operating system (or desktop, or server, or database, or whatever).

Five hardware companies are taking part in the program, including Advantech, Icop, Via, Special Computing, and Keith and Koep more information about the hardware can be found here.

So, what do you really think about this program? - and what do you think you would build with your hardware and Windows CE ? - drop me a comment below, I'm very interested to find out what you think about this.

If you have one of the VIA Pico-ITX boards from ESC West, or have purchased a board as part of the Spark program then drop me a comment to let me know what you are going to do with the board.

- Mike