You can now build more attractive user interfaces on embedded devices using skills your developers are already using.

embeddeddevicesMicrosoft introduced the latest version of its operating system for gadgets called Windows Embedded CE. There are already one billion devices made each year that are neither computers nor cell phones that have embedded processors. These include industrial robots, medical test equipment and digital signs, many of which already use versions of Windows CE.

We’re extending the operating system to the rapidly growing set of consumer gadgets including media players, navigation systems, digital picture frames and digital televisions. All these devices, which previously were stand-alone, are increasingly networked and connected to the Internet.

The announcement this week makes it easier for device makers to design more attractive user interfaces. In particular, they allow designers to use existing Microsoft tools, such as Expressions Web design software and Visual Studio programming environment, to make the menus, buttons and other features of a device.

For more information, see Windows Embedded CE. There’s a Windows CE Shared Source Licensing Program allows you to modify the OS code for your device while maintaining control over your intellectual property.

For more information about how you can get started developing on Windows Embedded CE, see Windows Embedded Virtual Labs. You’ll find out how to program the devices using both C# and unmanaged code, investigate VOIP, explore the developer tools, and more. For more information about the development environment and how to get started writing code for your own devices, see Windows Embedded CE FAQs.

Windows Embedded CE is an operating system and development platform that provides a 32-bit native, componentized, hard real-time operating system, unified kernel, and powerful embedded development tools. It is  designed for small footprint, smart, connected, and service-oriented devices, ranging from power- conscious GPS handhelds to real-time industrial controllers.