Windows CE is NOT dead!

Windows CE is NOT dead!

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I am just back from the Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose, CA and I (again) had to answer these same questions again and again: “So is CE really dead?”, “Now you killed CE, how are you addressing the ARM-based platforms?”, “How is it that you are still using Visual Studio 2005?”, “So Windows Embedded products are all different SKUs of the same product, right?”…

Here are some signs that make people think this way:

  • Windows Embedded CE 6.0 OSDesign tools are still integrated into Visual Studio 2005, not even 2008…
  • Visual Studio 2010 does not support Smart Device development (that is the support for developing native and .Net CF applications for Windows CE and Windows Mobile/Phone)…
  • Next version of Windows Embedded CE has been delayed several times…
  • Windows Phone 7 doesn’t clearly states what is the underlying OS…

So let me say this: Windows CE is NOT dead. Our devs are heads down finalizing Windows Embedded Compact 7 that will ship soon and that Microsoft will support over the next 10 years (at least). Windows Embedded team is investing a lot in adding new features, creating new tools to support these new features, analyzing the Embedded market really seriously… Does that sound like a dead product? Definitively not.

By the Way, Windows Phone 7 is based on the Windows Embedded Compact 7 core

You will hear more from me and the Windows Embedded team during the next couple of months and you will understand what I am talking about :-). Lots of good things are coming. Stay tuned.

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  • Its good to hear some good news about CE, Lets wait for the updates in a copule of months as promised by obloch.  

  • The fact that the question is asked in the first place is the real problem.  Many in the industry are questioning Microsoft's commitment to embedded and mobile operating system software.

    If Microsoft is serious about embedded systems, Microsoft needs to do a better job getting the word out.

  • My wish list for Windows CE is simple--I'd love to see

    netbooks with Windows CE which could run digital audio workstation software that includes a piano roll/step sequencer and VST plug-in synthesizer support. Then one's netbook could be one's mobile recording studio.

  • pingback:

  • How is Windows Embedded Compact 7 different from Windows 7 for x86? Is Microsoft planning to bring a "full" Windows to ARM Cortex processors? I guess it's not going to be open-source and it's not going to be free? What do you think about Android and Chrome OS?

  • @Tom:

    Definitively agree with you. I think the Windows Embedded group is definitvely trying to get the right info out at the right moment. Not always easy with all what's going on in different MS teams. Things are evolving fast in what I think is the right direction. Stay tuned for more info.


  • @Charbax

    You are asking how Windows Embedded CE/Compact is different to Windows.

    Windows Embedded CE and its next version, Windows Embedded Compact 7 are not based on Windows binaries (vs. Windows Embedded Standard which is a componentized embedded version of Windows).

    Windows CE has been developped from scratch with a different OS architecture and driver model ensuring hard real time and very small footprint. Windows CE is also disigned to run on different CPU architectures (x86, MIPS, SH, ARM). The other big difference is that you compile Windows Embedded CE when you design a CE OS.

    I cannot comment on your other questions.


  • Couldn't agree more. The best features around WinMo is customization. I can make my phone look any way I want, install any apps I want, and run them in the background when I want.

    It looks like MS is creating an environment which will hopefully lead to the end user being able to use these phoens easily without any hassle. Reactions:

  • So does this mean that an update to VS 2010 will allow you to write WinCE7 software?

  • The question is will you support ARMv6 optimizations? Updated compiler & linker? ARMv4 is history, ARMv5 is old and ARMv6 is current.

    Also, Platform Builder still does not support Visual Studio 2008, let alone 2010. Come on!

  • It's all because of Microsoft's nonsensical naming. Windows Embedded Standard 7 is NT-based and Windows Embedded Compact 7 is the real CE. Why create this extreme confusion? Windows CE should be called just that: Windows CE 7.0 or Windows Compact 7. Remove "Embedded" from one of the names and you'll see people getting less confused.

  • It's too bad that Windows Embedded CE 6.0 OSDesign tools arent' integrated into VS 2010. Having to support Embedded development on TFS 2005 has been painful and we would love to move to TFS 2010.

    For all intensive purposes...Embedded CE development has been so painful we've been seriously examining the alternatives.

    You mention more details coming "soon"..."soon" is honestly too late. We need details and bits from Microsoft yesterday if we're to beleive MS doesn't have CE on just life support.

  • @Sam, @Ismail Donmez, @Dev Tools

    When I say soon, I mean really soon. Answers to your questions will come next month or so with details on the tools, the CPU families support, and so on.

    Let the dev team finish their work.

  • C++ also used to be a "first class PL for .Net" just a couple of years ago and nowadays it's completely banned from Microsoft Mobile OS and even on desktop MS doesn't provide Intellisense support for C++/CLI.

    From the outside it really looks like desktop Windows kernel is going to replace CE as mobile OS offering and people on Windows CE team might not even know ;-). It's not only me; people started to look for the way out of Microsoft toolchain.

    I agree that Microsoft naming is terrible. It's very easy to search on the Web for programming topics about Android or iPhone or, to some extent, Maemo. But for Windows "Real" Embedded (not Standard) you have to search for topic several times with one of the following added "EVC, Pocket PC, PPC, Smart Devices, Platform Builder, WinCE, Windows CE, Windows Mobile, Windows Mobile 6". This further complicates programming for Windows CE.

  • Congratulations on WES 7.

    From the products that I've seen your working on it's going to be great and I'm really looking forward to see what you're able to do with Aero.


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