So the newly merged Windows Mobile and Embedded or CE teams inside of Microsoft have been working hard and Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 is the first in a line of new OS’s that has been released into the market.
I wanted to cover off exactly what this means to anyone with a rugged PDA, with special reference to Windows Mobile 6.5 users.
Firstly WM6.5 is not going anywhere just yet. I said about 6 months ago that WM6.5 was going to be here for about 18 months and I still stand by that, however Microsoft have moved the goalposts a little bit by launching this new embedded OS in my view. So why have they done this and what does it mean?
Windows Embedded Compact 7.0
This OS is designed to take over from CE6.0. However it also marks a departure from a code base that can be run on PC and mobile architecture, with WEC 7.0 now focussing solely on mobile types of device. It is released to OEM manufacturers, has a 10 year g’teed lifespan and is designed primarily for embedded systems. CE was always a quick and cheap way of getting a rugged PDA to market and in my view is the only reason we still see it on devices today, other than where legacy compatibility is required.
My personal take is that it is unlikely that we’ll see WEC on a rugged PDA at all because it’s not complex enough for these types of devices. Where we will see it though is on thin client, cloud supported devices where you will hardly know Microsoft is being used. Expect your Fridge panel or any embedded, connected type of device to be using WEC if Microsoft is the chosen technology.
Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5
Now this OS is something us Rugged PDA folks need to know about. Originally Microsoft slated this as WEH 7.0 and it was due Q2/3 2011. However it got mysteriously dropped from the Microsoft roadmap later last year. It’s now back as WEH 6.5 and it is the successor to Windows Mobile 6.5.
WEH comes in 2 flavours, standard and professional, for phone enabled and disabled devices and it comes with a fair raft of new API’s in its SDK all designed to make for a true line of business OS for mobile devices. WEH is easily ported to from any Windows Mobile targeted application and it is the OS of choice for us Rugged PDA Folk. Calling it Windows Mobile 7.0 would probably position it far better but Microsoft want to stress the true LOB positioning of this OS.
We’re just starting to see it appear now on new Rugged PDA’s with the first one in fact already having been announced, see the thoughtfully named Honeywell Dolphin 99EX blog here.
Current until 2014 and supported until 2019 it is the roadmapped OS that we need in the Rugged PDA mission critical world and it will be as easily developed for from right within Visual Studio.
Windows Phone 7
So WP7 is the last mobile focussed OS from Microsoft and in a nutshell, forget about this if you’re looking for a line of business solution. WP7 is for the consumer smartphone market. It will move fast to serve a fickle and feature rich, often Fad driven market and it is not considered a wise choice to run your line of business applications on.
Line of business Mobile device = WEH 6.5
Flashy smartphone device = WP7
Thin client, cheap and completely tolerable OS = WEC 7.0
Just ask if you need any help!
The Rugged and Mobile blog.