Windows Embedded 8 Handheld - What we currently know!

Windows Embedded 8 Handheld – What we currently know!

So With Microsofots successor to Windows Mobile now piloting in the states I thought it would be a good time to answer all the questions we have had about WE8H, here’s most of them.  We’ve done our best on this so we hope this stimulates conversation and more questions.  That way we all keep learning, so just ask in the comments below or tweet us at @ruggedandmobile if you want to connect.

How do I develop WE8H applications?

You basically use the Windows Phone 8 development tools and SDKs to get set up and then you install the WE8H SDK to use the specific features of this OS.  You need the latest versions of Visual Studio from 2012 onwards. VS 2008 is no good any more.  Now the catch is that you can install VS 2012 on a W7 machine, but to install the WP8 components you need to have a W8 machine.  Good luck with that!!

When is WE8H released officially?

Still not sure, nothing has been set in stone yet and there are no devices at all.  We constantly pester distributors and manufacturers and none of them can answer that question. Form experience I would say that 2014 is possible but i’m not sure if it’s probable.

What Mobile devices are available to test on?

In short none yet, but there are a few announced ones.  Motorola have a device that was piloting on the Home Depot pilot in the USA and their CEO also mentioned a tablet in a recent interview.  Pidion have announced 2 new devices the BM180 and the BP30 which are a POS and PDA style terminal running both Android 4,2 and WE8H.  We sell more Pidion than anyone in the UK and we’ve not seen one yet!  Panasonic are rumoured to be developing a tablet and Honeywell and Ingenico (Who bought Baracoda recently) are both partners in the pilot schemes.

Will we see WE8H on Nokia or consumer devices?

No, WE8H is intended only for pure business devices where data capture and POS is at the core of the solution.  COnsumer devices will continue to run Windows 8 Phone edition or WIndows 8 RT/Pro on tablets.

Do my old Windows Mobile based apps port easily?

We work with IOS, Android, WM and WP8 and we’ve also tinkered with WE8H here so we can answer this categorically.  Nothing will port at all from the older Windows Mobile or Windows Embedded Handheld OS.  We have found porting to Android far easier which sounds bazaar but at least we can make those apps more hybrid right now and reduce future risk for clients.

Is this just Windows Phone with some tweaks?

WE8H is based on the WP8 core and it does look a lot more like WP8 and what you see on the Nokia Lumia range.  So usability is up, however there are a lot of differences between the 2 OS’s.

So it’s as easy to port to Android?  Why would I port to WE8H?

Well firstly it’s easier if you already know Android and Java.  Many Microsoft houses don’t so you still get to work with familiar tools and technology like C# if porting to WE8H.  There is work required though and I will share that some Microsoft people here struggled more understanding the W8P solution process than the IOS/Android ones.  I’d go as far as saying though that in this new multi-os hybrid world we live in WE8H is not as familiar to many as you might think.  Also WE8H is designed to integrate far better with back end systems that are Microsoft..yada yada yada…yawn.  We heard it all before.  IOS and Andoird have way big enough app producers to get round all of that!

If the peripheral integration into the SDK lives up to what I think it is, then that will be nice.  If you can have pure, direct data capture from within the SDK then that will be a big benefit for building solutions with data capture.  Trick is how many businesses going mobile today actually see that as a benefit?

Is there an SDK and is peripheral support in that?

Yes and Yes, download it here and as far as we have worked out the SDK does have a lot of the peripheral support in it already but it’s currently limited.  It’s

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About The Author

Dave's one of the founders of Raptor, his rants are memorable, his thoughts are stimulating and his heart is set on helping, entertaining and making things like mobile, Android, ruggedness, 3D printing and IOT simple.

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2 Responses

  1. tony

    Interesting blog. As a Microsoft .net developer and windows mobile, i am concerned that is taking MS too long to get some devices out there, until there are devices it isn’t worth thinking about developing anything for WEH8. I do however believe that when developing for Windows you know the software will work on any device with the OS on it, the same cannot be said for android, android like Windows Phone and other mobile OS are consumer focused and that means they have new versions very often that doesn’t fit the business model of having consistency and a change of device every 5 years or so. Perhaps the answer is just to keep on using WEH6.5 which is what most of the manufacturers seem to be doing in the rugged market.

    • ruggedandmobile

      Well tomorrow’s edgy blog might just shed some light on this for you! We’re actually worried that this market is becoming too small for Microsoft to be bothering with and this is a possible reason it has taken so long. From what we can glean form the background noise, there’s definitely lots of falling out going on with MS and rugged partners.

      When you talk to businesses who have committed to the WM bloodline for years, i’m talking couriers, field mobile and warehouse people, they’re all really miffed at the huge change they now face and many are simply going hybrid or web based and taking the hit on functionality to keep portability and reduce risk for the future. A lot of these see the browser as key and I think we’ll see growth here as it potentially makes the hardware or OS a non-choice. I laughed at the firefox browser/OS model when I first read about it but I am wondering if I was too quick to judge.

      I think when people talk about Android they get caught in a technical trap. The fact is its being adopted in the rugged market heavily now. We’re selling it into NHS, Councils, you name it, it’s there and these guys are getting on with it. Android people don’t keep the device for too long, they have shorter more agile turn around times on their investments as they aim to get more return in shorter investment cycles so in that sense the rugged 5 year cycle is also being challenged now in some markets.

      What i do know is that it’s going to be one interested year for mobile OS’s in the rugged market and one hard working one as we learn to cope with multi-OS in a mission critical world!!