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Windows CE Developers Conference Showcases Innovation, Momentum For World of Connected Productivity Appliances

Developers, Integrators, OEMs Demonstrate Complete Solutions As Well as Advances in Hardware, Tools and Applications Based on Windows CE Operating System, Tools

DENVER - June 7, 1999 - With the theme of "Computing Everywhere, Connecting Everything," the latest in hardware and software innovations relating to the Microsoft® Windows® CE operating system are being highlighted June 7-9 at the fourth Windows CE Developers Conference. With more than 2,000 software developers and systems integrators in attendance, the conference will offer more than 90 technical sessions on all aspects of
Windows CE. In addition, more than 135 vendors will display the latest in software, hardware and peripherals for productivity appliances and embedded systems powered by Windows CE at the on-site trade show.

The major themes of the conference are presented in two keynote addresses. Harel Kodesh, vice president, Productivity Appliances Division of Microsoft Corp., focused the opening day keynote on "Computing Everywhere," detailing the industrywide innovation in appliances and embedded systems using Windows CE, including enhancements to the core operating system and tools. Bob Muglia, senior vice president, Business Productivity Group, will deliver the second-day keynote on "Connecting Everything," which will outline Microsoft's vision for "Knowledge Workers Without Limits" and strategic initiatives to deliver this vision. In addition, he will discuss future directions for integrating connected digital devices into key enabling technologies such as wireless data services, corporate databases and back-end systems.

"Windows CE offers hardware and software developers, integrators and solution providers support for more diverse information appliances than any competitive operating system," Kodesh said. "'Computing Everywhere, Connecting Everything' means that you can be away from your desktop, using multiple devices, either individually or within workgroups across the enterprise, in a way that is both familiar and appropriate to each device."

Computing Everywhere

During his speech, Kodesh highlighted the innovation taking place at every component level of a Windows CE-based system:

  • Hardware. Kodesh demonstrated the latest in color Palm-size PCs, including audio and multimedia applications. By using an open platform approach, hardware OEMs and peripheral manufacturers have been able to extend the capabilities of the core platform in the first year of availability to include such enhancements as digital cameras, innovative data storage solutions, and thousands of downloadable content items, inlcuding music, the spoken word and images.
  • Operating system. A major theme for Kodesh was progress to date on the core operating system. A hands-on lab at the conference will preview the next major version of Windows CE, which will include hard real-time support with nested interrupts and 256 priority levels. Kodesh also announced ActiveSyncÔ 3.0 technology, the next version of the synchronization software for Windows CE. This version offers users new features (such as eliminating the need to install dial-up networking or Remote Access Server services for connection to a Palm-size PC or Handheld PC), easier installation (automatic detection of host PC serial ports, user-selectable synch speeds), and greater ease of use (simple status window, improved trouble-shooting and error messages). Kodesh also detailed extensions to
    Windows CE such as support for the DirectX® application programming interface to enable state-of-the-art game systems and full Web browsing support for appliances such as set-top boxes. These capabilities were underscored by a demonstration of the new Sega Dreamcast system and a General Instrument set-top box, both using Windows CE.
  • Development tools. The newest version of the Windows CE Platform Builder, 2.12, was previewed, showcasing support for Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 and Microsoft Pocket Word. The application now allows embedded systems developers to takeadvantage of full Web browsing capabilities in deeply embedded systems. A demonstration on Common Executable Format (CEF), a new compiler target within the Visual C++® development system for Windows CE, was also presented. This compiler enables cross-processor portability within a category of devices, such as Palm-size PCs or Handheld PCs. A single program executable under CEF is translated to the native code on either the host PC or the device, as desired. This capability eliminates the need for developers to recompile an application for every possible processor on a given Windows CE-based appliance before bringing it to market, thus enabling them to support every version of a device (Palm-size or Handheld PC) quickly and easily.
  • Complete solutions. A number of innovative solutions were showcased as well. These included a broad set of product announcements from Symbol Technologies Inc., which will manufacture multiple "ruggedized" versions of Palm-size PCs for vertical applications, planned for use by United Parcel Service and the New York Stock Exchange, among others. Radiant Systems Inc., which specializes in retail and point-of-sale systems, is developing for customers a network of connected retail appliances such as fuel dispensers for Tokheim Co. and intelligent point-of-sale systems for Burger King fast-food restaurants, using Windows CE-based devices connected to the Windows NT® operating system.


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