by CIO Staff

Microsoft Readies Updated Windows CE

May 09, 20063 mins
Small and Medium BusinessWindows

As Redmond, Wash.-based software giant Microsoft scrambles to meet the already-delayed release date for its upcoming Vista OS, the company is also working on another version of its Windows OS, Windows CE, meant for usage in small- to mid-sized electronic devices, the Associated Press reports via the New York Post.

On Tuesday, a test, or beta, version of the updated OS will be debuted to developers at a conference in Las Vegas, according to the AP. Included within the new OS will be the basis for Microsoft’s OS for mobile devices, Windows Mobile, the AP reports.

Vista is slated for release to consumers in early 2007.

Products featuring both the upgraded Windows CE and Windows Mobile systems will be available to consumers sometime during 2007, according to the AP.

Microsoft is attempting to make headway into the booming high-end cell phone market while still keeping Windows CE available to consumers for use in other electronics, the AP reports. Though Microsoft could potentially thrive in the mobile market, it won’t be easy, as the company will surely have to tailor its operating systems to a wide variety of mobile devices.

Jupiter Research analyst Joe Wilcox told the AP, “The company’s historically about what? Operating systems. And operating systems are used by more classes of devices.”

Revenue derived from Microsoft’s mobile and embedded chip devices division represents a mere $89 million of its more than $10.9 billion in last quarter sales, and it has not consistently reported profits, according to the AP.

Microsoft will also face fierce competition from the likes of Research In Motion—whose popular BlackBerry handheld has built a large, extremely loyal following—and Palm, maker of the Treo handheld. The company may have an edge in that Windows Mobile will be very similar to the widely used Windows XP system; however, Microsoft will have to boost the OS’s functionality, as it’s already associated with clunkiness, according to the AP.

Kevin Dallas, general manager of Microsoft’s mobile and embedded devices unit, told the AP Microsoft’s main challenge will be to simplify all the functions contained within Windows Mobile. Ease of use is absolutely essential since handhelds work best with simple, intuitive systems, Dallas told the AP.

Analysts predict that the majority of companies are likely to stick with trusted homegrown or open-source systems until Microsoft can prove Windows Mobile is a worthy competitor, instead of taking a chance with a new product that hasn’t been vetted, the AP reports.

This article is posted on our Microsoft Informer page. For more news on the Redmond, Wash.-based powerhouse, keep checking in.

For related news coverage, read Microsoft Chases Online Ad Revenue With Ad Center and Microsoft Nears Massive Ad Deal.

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