back to article Microsoft aims Windows Embedded 8 at $1.4 trillion market

With the much-ballyhooed launches of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 behind it, Microsoft has now announced its product road map for the less consumer-centric version of its OS platform: Windows Embedded. Targeting the so-called Internet of Things, Windows Embedded 8 will come packaged in a variety of flavors to suit the full …

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Anonymous Coward

Good luck with that.

Thinking about supermarket checkouts... touchscreen used to be a specialised sector.

Now, we're looking at a zillion android devs who have java and touchscreen experience and no hardware restrictions.

Ok, most of them may be rubbish, but it creates an ecosystem, as MS well know.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good luck with that.

Anyone venture a guess how well a Raspberry Pi could run a POS terminal?

...or, for that matter, if one could get a Pi for less than Microsoft will charge for the embedded license ;)

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Silver badge

Re: Good luck with that.

Because nothing says low footprint, effortless reliability and maintenance free - like Windows (tm)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good luck with that.

I'd guess a R Pi would be terrible at running a POS terminal. It can barely run any of the flavours of linux that I've tried, once a GUI has been fired up, at least. I'm hoping that RISC OS will be a damn site better, mind.

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Bronze badge

Re: Good luck with that.

POS doesn't need to support huge screens normally or even look fancy, I think the RaspPi would run fine for a basic onscreen Point of Sales System as long as external devices such as Scales, LED displays, Scanners, can be plugged in.

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Bronze badge

Re: Good luck with that.

Hi,

YAAC not sure if you have seen the majority of self service tills (Definatly seen them in Sainsbury's and Tesco) have used Windows for years, although its probably why there is always one self service till misbehaving at any one time.

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Trollface

They can aim for the window... and hit it ...

Like a bird.

Win 8 is going to be the upgrade everyone skips, because it's crap.

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Alert

Medical Devices?

Medical devices running Windows?

So now we get crashes signalled by the Blue Face Of Death.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Medical Devices?

There are a lot of such devices already running Windows XP Embedded!

The real reason Windows 8 Embedded is a WTF is because the companies making the devices it would go into are only just now starting to switch from WinXP Embedded to Win7 Embedded - for example, our first Win7 Embedded-based device shipped this year, our second will be next year.

We did that change for two reasons - firstly, and most importantly, Microsoft have effectively said they'll stop selling us WinXPe licences in a couple of years as our guaranteed support runs out. Secondly, Win7e gives us the multi-touch screen handling we wanted (because XP drivers are rare, see the first reason).

In the embedded market, changing the embedded OS used in existing products simply does not happen, and even changing the embedded OS used for new products is rare.

Very few new embedded products are "ground up", and swapping out the foundations is extremely risky so is only done if it's absolutely necessary, and always to something with a very long support life.

Moving to Win8 simply isn't going to happen for at least another five years - and if it involves significant changes to APIs then we'll simply move to Linux instead, as we already use that in our low-power devices.

Several of our competitors have already jumped all their high-end flagship products to Linux - although one of them went early and paid bitterly for it, the ones that waited until three/four years ago are doing quite well.

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Anonymous Coward

Meh

- It is huge

- It is slow

- It is not a real time operating system

but apart from that, I guess it's OK, given how cheap hardware is these days.

Just don't use it for anything safety critical, m'kay?

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Re: Meh

Yeah, nothing to address safety-critical or high-reliability systems so just the same as WinCE (and even NT Embedded). It might be used in cars or medical applications but not for anything you need to depend on.

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Linux

Beware of the license conditions

From past experience the big hassle is likely to be licensing conditions. I worked with a company using Windows CE for a home automation controller. Their biggest gripe was that they had to keep track of all the licenses. To release an upgrade / fix (shipped on an CF card) they had to build unique images with the right license key and track the return of the old card to "reclaim" the license. The process was frustrating as they couldn't provide images directly to installers and managers felt there was too much risk of being in breach of the license conditions.

The end result was they switched to linux, because it contained none of the risks. The company made all it's money from selling the hardware and the software only worked with the hardware, so tracking licenses had zero value.

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Flame

This could transform the Internet of Things...

...into the Internet of Things that Crash. Color me skeptical.

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Bronze badge
Flame

> a lot of devices that still want to use less than 256MB of memory

I imagine he left a pregnant pause after that statement, so the audience could have a little time to take on board a transformed world of pervasive computing running on devices so puny that previously they would have been classified as pocket calculators ...

...for crying out loud, my daily-use phone has "just" 128MB RAM and I'm merrily browsing, reading eBooks, taking photos, playing music, ie doing just about anything I can think of wanting. His statement suggests that MS is still thinking of embedded as a cut-down PC, where even taking a savage knife to the bloat still leaves a corpulent waddling thing, with associated big fat license fees. To really play they need to be thinking in kilobytes and cents - or of course to seek to shift the discussion to more favourable terms...

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h3
Bronze badge

Wonder whether they have updated Windows for Warships Past NT4 ? People don't seem to talk about that all that much anymore.

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More useless noise.

Late to the party, as usual, bringing nothing but friction and unnecessary expense. Look for just enough success in the market to make a pointless mess for customers, like Silverlight.

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Windows

for the internet of things , it doesn't matter what OS the device runs, as long as it uses standard communication protocols. Why waste storage on my Arduino with windows libraries I am unlikely to use? if it doesn't include the standard windows libraries , what advantage does it offer me? At the moment all my tools for embedded controllers are Open Source. Why would I pay a tithe to Microsoft?

Microsoft 's failure to recognise the the coming importance of the internet. led to the lash-up that was internet connection in windows for workgroups 3.11 and Windows 95. Microsoft recovered from that, partly because it was almost unopposed in desktop OS, and partly because they managed to improve the network interface in windows 98 to the point of usability. I don't think the embedded market is going to offer a similar route to relevance.

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Thumb Up

Counter-troll

We use Windows Embedded 7 (and previously XP Embedded) to control industrial machines and have found it to be an extremely reliable platform. Not the easiest to set up it has to be said, but not once have we had one crash or go bad. The memory footprint is quite reasonable, the main issue we have is with SQL Server Express using up all the memory after it's been online for a couple of weeks - maybe SQL Server Embedded will address this.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Counter-troll

Now you see what you did there? You offered a positive personal opinion, based on actual use of an MS product, so you have to be voted down.

Next time, try to bang on about something made by MS that you don't use, won't use, and don't understand how it would be used, be as negative as possible.

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Re: Counter-troll

mmm, you said "found it to be an extremely reliable platform." and then said "SQL Server Express using up all the memory after it's been online for a couple of weeks" - Surely, for a 24/7 embedded system, that is a major deal breaker?

And then, ever an optimist, you said "maybe SQL Server Embedded will address this." - this tells you all you need to know why you should try another platform. Unless you are a really BIG user, U$oft doesn't listen to it's customers and rarely acknowledges or fixes problems; their answer is either "start again with fresh install" or "take the upgrade".

Some of my systems run 24/7 for 5 to 10 years. A re-boot to fix a supplier's software problem is not an option.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Counter-troll

@David - He said that the embedded OS was good, but that a second product seemed to not be that good.

Not that hard to understand.

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Anonymous Coward

x86? ARM?

All exclusively for x86 and therefore almost all irrekevant, right?

If it runs Windows/x86 it needs Windows Update, AV and firewall, right? How embedded-compatible is that in comparison with a Linux or even a VxWorks ?

Afaik, even BT Vision's set top box has abandoned Windows. A DRM-driven consorrtium of content providers, BT but no longer MS?

If I was managing an XPe-dependent embedded project, I'd be looking to change platform away from MS quite soon, not least because MS want to control what and when I build and sell. That's daft, but it's what unregulated monopolists do.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: x86? ARM?

No, it will also run on ARM.

If you think that MS have a monopoly on embedded OSes, you really can't have noticed this thing called Linux, I think you should go and find out about it.

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Anonymous Coward

x86? ARM?

'it will also run on ARM'

Citation needed.

Which variants of Windows? Which ARMs?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: x86? ARM?

Well, as it's always run on ARM until now, I would think the citation is needed to say that they're stopping it running on arm.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: x86? ARM?

*what* exactly has 'always run on ARM?

XP Embedded never has, never will.

WinCE ran on a tiny subset of mostly consumer-oriented boxes, given MS approval. WinCE is dead now, isn't it? As are the various flavors of WinCE apps, right? Just because MS say so.

Linux, on the other hand, is almost everywhere, often invisibly.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: x86? ARM?

http://www.arm.com/community/software-enablement/microsoft/windows-embedded-ce.php

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Anonymous Coward

Re: x86? ARM?

that link goes to a WinCE page.

WinCE is dead - MS said so.

Embedded Linux isn't dead.

Try again?

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Thumb Down

Too many variants and missed the boat.

As an embedded developer I am amazed just how many variants of Windows 8 Embedded there are. The old CE was a bit of a dog to program and was lagging in features so I jumped ship to embedded Linux a while ago; some native and some locked-down Androids. We even get a database for free!

With no licence fees my per unit costs are now less and I have more flexibility than with Win8 embedded. Too late U$oft I am not returning to the fold.

Too late, too complicated and too expensive. Another Ballmer balls up in my view.

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Facepalm

"services and devices" company

That's usually the first step to meltdown, just ask Nokia.

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