Windows Embedded 8 is Intelligent Systems Ready

Posted By Barb Edson
General Manager, Marketing and Business Development

A couple of weeks ago, at the Intelligent Systems Leadership Summit, I had a chance to catch David Wurster’s presentation on new features and functionality in the Windows Embedded 8 platform. As senior product marketing manager for Embedded, David has a great vantage point to see all of the cool things going on with Windows Embedded 8 as the new suite of products are rolled out over the next year. The following is a blog post he put together for me, so we could share those features in this space.

Over the next year, we're bringing Windows 8 to the embedded market, allowing OEMs, enterprises, developers and other partners to build devices and applications that offer a high-performance, fast, fluid experience without sacrificing any of the security and flexibility that the reimagined Windows delivers:

  • Windows Embedded 8 Standard continues to be our modular, componentized version of Windows 8. We add technologies on top of that to enable industry-specific scenarios. A release preview is available now, with general availability scheduled for March.
  • Windows Embedded 8 Pro is the full version of Windows we'll be bringing through the embedded channel. This will also be available in the March timeframe.
  • Windows Embedded 8 Industry is the new name for our Windows Embedded POSReady product. The reason for the change is that we see the capabilities of this operating system fitting into a much larger number of device categories than just point-of-service. In January, we’ll be offering our first community technology preview of this important release.

We’ve done a lot of work to make sure Windows Embedded 8 is ready for the world of intelligent systems. In the end, it’s all about being able to deliver the kind of rich, compelling, connected line-of-business experiences that people expect.

Much of the excitement around the new platform centers on its multi touch and ten-point touch experiences and the capabilities they enable for the device world. Check out the demo video below for a look at how smooth Windows Embedded 8-based applications can be:

While having a modern, powerful application in the hands of end users is always the goal, much of the power of the new Windows Embedded 8 platform comes on the development side.

With Windows Embedded 8, developers and enterprise customers benefit from being able to deliver on two application models. We're using the same frameworks, the exact same tools, and the exact same models as Windows 8, which creates efficiency, and also cross-platform benefits.

There are also some fundamental staples of Windows Embedded 8 that make the platform truly ready for intelligent systems today.

The first is connectivity, essential to any intelligent system. There have been tremendous improvements in connectivity coming from Windows with this release—improvements to USB with support for USB 3.0, Bluetooth, improvements to Wi-Fi, and also integrated mobile broadband.

A related part of the connectivity picture is power management and battery life. Windows 8 features a redesigned power management architecture to help devices last through an entire shift, so a person can work throughout their day without having to be disconnected from their device. Upgrades in this area include support for connected standby, where the device can update information in real time from the sleep state, much like a smart phone.

Once a device is connected, it’s got to be secure, and there are several more enhancements we’re making there.

First, there’s lockdown. We’ve got some great technologies coming with unified write filter, which is the combination of our file-based write filter and our enhanced write filter from Windows Embedded Standard 7. For the Windows 8 world, we’ve put those into a single filter to improve the servicing of the device.

Another important lockdown feature involves keyboard filters. With Windows Embedded Standard 8, we’ve included the ability to filter keystrokes from soft keyboards as well as physical keyboards, which is becoming more and more important with touch-centric and touch-first devices. For that reason, we’ve also introduced a gesture filter in Standard, as well as the App Launcher, which allows the device to boot directly into a Windows 8-style application. This is something unique to Windows Embedded.

Trusted boot is another benefit we have introduced with Windows 8 that allows for rearchitecting the boot process to ensure that only trusted software is loading on that device. Another security feature, BitLocker, secures and encrypts the data stored on the device.

Along with security, enterprise IT demands manageability, and with Windows Embedded 8, devices can now be first class IT citizens.

Some changes we’ve made: Every device can be managed by System Center. Every device can be secured by Forefront. We’ve put things into the foundation of the platform to ensure that devices can meet those enterprise needs.

Another aspect of ensuring devices are ready for intelligent systems: Identity. Group policy and Active Directory are fundamental to Windows 8 Pro, and are going to be fundamental aspects available to any Windows Embedded 8-based device.

When you look at the combination of improvements across security, across connectivity, across the experience, Windows 8 is bringing the right technologies to the embedded world to build devices that are ready for the next era of intelligent systems.

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