So continuing our blog on the best Mobile OS’s and also the current Microsoft theme, today it’s all about Windows CE.  Windows CE was never really meant for Rugged PDA’s as it hasn’t got a lot of the core features you need to run a PDA.  There’s no phone or 3G interface for instance which means that if you have a PDA with a phone on it, it’s actually manufacturer or developer producted, not from Microsoft.

This means that CE has never been a great choice for solutions because it means every solution you build is potentially different for each PDA it runs on.  However what a lot of people also don’t know is that CE is free, it always has been and anyone can take its core and develop their solutions on top of it, so it has been a way for Rugged PDA manufacturers to get an open, cheap OS onto their devices quickly and when Windows Mobile probably still left a lot to be desired!

Windows CE Today

Actually today Microsoft has recognised this and not only has it changed the name of its CE product line to “Windows Embedded Compact 7” but it has also stated that it doesn’t want to see it on PDA’s.  It’s for systems requiring an embedded OS, like Set-top boxes, car systems, TOM Tom Go’s even run on it.  THe key is it’s for single purpose solutions, not for a tool like a PDA that can be sued for multiple purposes.

The Pro’s of Windows CE

  1. Well it’s still cheap, it’s still liked by many so there are in-house developers out there who know it and love it!
  2. The PDA is slightly less expensive due to the cheaper OS licensing.
  3. It is easier to lock down, because you;re effectively developing against a specific set of hardware anyway.  So you create your own standards as you develop.

Con’s of Windows CE

  1. Because there’s no .NET core like Windows Mobile has, you are effectively required to program your solution for every PDA it runs on, making CE a high risk for the future of any solution built on top of it.
  2. It’s also quirky to build solutions with, especially after developing under a Windows Mobile environment.
  3. Solutions take longer to develop as you have to utilise a different set of libraries for each PDA, or even build your own.

Our thoughts on CE and the Rugged Market

We’re still seeing PDA’s even launched today with CE5.0 on them, and even with the newer v6.0 but the trend has been that this is diminishing for years now.  The rule of thumb is that unless you have a specific requirement for CE then you use WIndows Mobile which is far more suited to the Rugged market of today.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

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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