Microsoft releases Windows Embedded 8 for Download
The embedded versions of Windows 8 are available for download and Microsoft outlines roadmap for consumers
With the Windows 8 Consumer Preview out, Microsoft have now provided information on Windows Embedded 8, (though in the press release, it’s being called Windows Embedded v.Next) and when the various versions can be expected to be released.
A preview of the standard version is available to download. However, this probably isn’t something for the casual consumer: Windows Embedded 8 is what you’ll find at kiosks, dashboards and ATMs, which Microsoft calls “intelligent systems.” Microsoft reiterate that the functionality of Windows 8 has been maintained.
While Windows 8 will be available later this year, Embedded Compact – designed for smaller devices, such as mobiles – will be available in the second half of 2012.
With Embedded 8 available for download now, some of the improvements in this version are NFC support and “security enhancements.” Right now the latest download doesn’t support ARM, which would be useful for the mobile devices this version of Windows 8 is aimed at, but does run on x86 and x64 systems.
Microsoft outline Embedded roadmap
Microsoft have also outlined the roadmap for Windows Embedded 8, serving as the latest update:
1. Step Windows Embedded Enterprise ‘Next’: this is the version of ATMs and Kiosks. As mentioned, Microsoft say this will be out one quarter after Windows 8.
2. Step Windows Embedded Standard 8: now available in Community Technology Preview (CTP) 1 form, this version will be available three quarters after Windows 8 is released, though the Connect site says that “terms expire on October 2012.” This versions also supports x86 and x64 systems.
3. Step Windows Embedded Compact ‘Next”: this is the version for small devices, and will also be out in the second half of 2012, supporting Visual Studio (as a note, Microsoft uses this in Windows Phone, thought rumours suggest they may move away from it).
Despite the development team issuing their latest update, releases of the version have traditional been slow (or non-existent). For example, Windows Embedded Handheld 7 was supposed to release by the end of 2011 (and it hasn’t been released).
Windows 8 is expected to release later this year, with the various Embedded versions coming a few months after release.