When writing a managed application today against a debug (or retail) Windows CE 5.0 device (using Visual Studio 2005) you need to run two applications on your target device (conmanclient2 and cmaccept) before connecting VS to your target - for native applications you can use eMbedded Visual C++ 4.0/SP4 which can piggy-back your existing Platform Builder connection.
ActiveSync provides the link between the desktop and Windows Mobile devices for application development and debugging - but what about shipping CE based devices ? - the majority of embedded devices are shipping without support for ActiveSync, perhaps don't have serial or USB support on the device and may just have a TCP/IP connection (and note that TCP/IP ActiveSync hasn't been around since version 4.0) - so, given just an IP address how do you write/deploy/debug applications against a retail CE device - from eMbedded Visual C++ 4.0 this was of course possible using a simple command line on the device, clicking your heels together three times and spinning around in your chair - here's how the command line looked, simple, eh!
CEMGRC.EXE /T:TCPIPC.DLL /Q /D:192.168.2.1:5913
With CE 6.0 both native and managed application development will be supported in Visual Studio 2005 - this means that you will have to run ConManClient2 and CmAccept on your device before connecting Visual Studio 2005 - also note that you have three minutes in which to connect VS 2005 to your device otherwise the connection times out. For device development and debugging this seems ok, and "open" devices like Pocket PC/Smartphone have ActiveSync to host their Visual Studio development/debugging connection - but what about CE based 'embedded' devices - do you have much of a need to write/deploy/debug applications to a shipping 'embedded' device ?