Microsoft updates embedded development platform

Microsoft announced an updated version of .NET Micro Framework at the Embedded World Conference in Germany.

Microsoft introduced an updated version of .NET Micro Framework, a platform for the development of applications that run in a variety of embedded devices such as retail point-of-sale terminals and home automation systems.

Microsoft first introduced the .NET Micro Framework about a year ago in an effort to make it easier for developers to create such applications. It was designed to attract developers who may have avoided using the Windows CE embedded OS because the hardware was too expensive and the OS too complex. With the .NET programming environment, developers can use Visual Studio to more quickly and easily develop applications.

The new version includes a Web services component that lets devices find and communicate with Windows-based PCs and other Windows devices on a network. Version 2.5 also adds support for native TCP/IP, so manufacturers can easily build products that connect to networks, Microsoft said.

The .NET Micro Framework is currently being used in PC peripherals, in the automotive industry and in home and industrial automation markets, the software giant said.

Microsoft made the announcement, in addition to two others, at the Embedded World Conference in Nuremburg, Germany, on Tuesday.

It also announced that IBM will pre-load Windows Embedded for Point of Service OS on its point-of-sale, self-checkout and self-service kiosk products. Windows Embedded for Point of Service is an OS optimized for retail deployments; it supports standard retail applications and peripherals.

Microsoft also launched a new embedded-systems development center in Aachen, Germany. The center, at which Microsoft expects to include 15 engineers by the end of this year, will support global product research and development, and work on creating new features for Microsoft's embedded OS. The center is part of a Microsoft initiative to expand its regional development centers across Europe, it said.

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