Microsoft releases preview of Windows 7 embedded edition

Microsoft has released a technical preview of its new Windows 7-based embedded edition, the company said Tuesday.

Designed to run on everything from ATMs to digital photo frames, Windows Embedded Standard 2011 is now available for download as a trial edition. The finished version is expected in the second half of 2010.

The community technology preview of Windows Embedded gives businesses and developers a chance to evaluate it on their devices and offer feedback to Microsoft. The company said that Windows Embedded lets manufacturers choose only those components they need to drive their equipment, eliminating the need to develop a full platform on their own.

Windows Embedded is used in a variety of markets, including industrial automation, entertainment, and consumer electronics. In the business world, the software is typically found in thin clients, kiosks, medical equipment, and point-of-service devices. On the consumer side, Windows Embedded is used in GPS devices, gaming consoles, networked TVs, and portable media players.

Microsoft said the latest embedded version offers several new features. Businesses will be able to manage their devices using Active Directory group policies and virtual desktops. The new edition will support 64-bit CPUs, the Windows Aero interface, and Windows Touch for touch screens. Windows Embedded Standard 2011 will also incorporate Internet Explorer 8 and Windows Media Player 12.

To help manufacturers, the company will offer Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist certification, a preparation kit, and training software. More information can be found on the Windows Embedded Training site. The company will also let businesses and developers register for free Webinars.

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