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Microsoft's Embedded OSes Get Windows 7 Branding

Microsoft changed its product naming scheme for its embedded operating system family, taking a cue from its Windows 7 desktop OS.

Embedded Windows products will follow the numbering approach that Microsoft adopted with Windows 7, the company announced on Tuesday. To underscore that change in approach, Microsoft has given Windows Embedded Standard 2011 a new name, calling it "Windows Embedded Standard 7."

The name change comes after Microsoft announced Windows Phone 7 on Monday, yet another "7" product in what appears to be a lucky 7 streak -- at least in the game craps. Microsoft has followed various product naming conventions for Windows, favoring names (such as Vista and XP) instead of numbers for the last eight years.

Microsoft also announced on Tuesday that Windows Embedded Standard 7 is currently available as a release candidate (RC) build, meaning that most of the features have been baked into the OS. The RC can be downloaded now by signing up to test it at the Microsoft Connect portal. The final product will be released to manufacturers sometime in the spring of this year, according to a Microsoft spokesperson via e-mail.

The earlier community technology preview version should be removed first before installing the RC version of Windows Embedded Standard 7, according to a Microsoft blog.

The new naming scheme also applies to Windows Embedded Compact (formerly known as Windows CE). The name of the compact OS now gets changed to "Windows Embedded Compact 7." It will be released sometime this year, the spokesperson indicated.

Similarly, Windows Embedded Automotive is now called "Windows Embedded Automotive 7."

Microsoft's embedded OSes are designed to run on devices and kiosks, with developers selecting only the components that they need to make them work. This componentization enables developers to create smaller footprints for specialized hardware.

Windows Embedded Standard 7 is based on the Windows 7 client OS and will support both x86- and x64-based hardware. Windows Embedded Compact 7 is designed for smaller footprints (300 kb) on consumer and enterprise devices, supporting x86, ARM, MIPS and SH4 processors. Windows Embedded Automotive 7 is an open embedded OS platform specialized for car equipment manufacturers.

For its partners, Microsoft plans to issue "new product logos and marketing materials" reflecting the name changes "soon," the spokesperson indicated.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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