Microsoft tests Windows 7-based embedded OS

The company released a preview of the Windows Embedded Standard 2011 OS for device makers

Microsoft on Tuesday released a test preview of its Windows 7-based OS for embedded devices.

A Community Technology Preview for Windows Embedded Standard 2011, formerly code-named "Quebec," is now available on Microsoft's Web site for original equipment manufacturers and developers of specialized devices to test.

The OS is based on Windows 7, the latest version of Microsoft's desktop OS that will be released worldwide on Oct. 22.

Windows Embedded Standard 2011 is basically a version of Windows that is used to power devices such as thin clients, point-of-service devices, kiosk, medical and multifunction printers.

Since the software is component-based, device manufacturers can choose the features they want to install as they are applicable for particular devices.

Windows Embedded Standard 2011 includes enterprise features for those devices comparable to what Windows 7 delivers on the desktop, such as links to Active Directory, Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, Microsoft Terminal Services and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).

It also features client applications like Internet Explorer 8 and Windows Media Player 12, and system administrator and developer technologies like Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) 7.0 and Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5. The OS, like Windows 7, also supports 64-bit CPUs.

User-interface features and improvements Microsoft has made to Windows 7 also are included in the embedded OS.

These include the Windows Aero user interface, Windows Presentation Foundation and Windows Touch, which allows for multigesture touch and context-aware applications.

Microsoft also has included an API (application programming interface) for developers to facilitate smart power management in the OS, it said.

The API allows developers to build applications that can improve CPU idle time and reduce power consumption for so-called "green" computing, the company said.

Microsoft plans to divulge more details about the OS, including an update about its release schedule, at the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC), which will be held in Boston Sept. 21--24.

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