Microsoft hasn’t said their last word in terms of mobile environments, with the group recently announcing their strategy for once again seducing their initial target: enterprises. The Windows Embedded Handheld brand will once again take aim at this segment.
Wavering in the general public segment while awaiting the release of their Windows Phone 7 system, Microsoft hasn’t forgotten their initial target: professionals and their interest in living the Windows experience in a mobile environment.
Microsoft is present through two lines in this field: Windows Embedded CE, represented by the new Windows Embedded Compact 7, and Windows Mobile. With the announcement of the Motorola ES400 handset, Microsoft has now provided a new name to their professional mobile activities: Windows Embedded Handheld which guarantees the presence of enterprise functions like handset management and added security.
Windows Embedded Handheld will be the new starting point (and perhaps the best way of forgetting the Windows Mobile 6.5 name) for a software platform aimed at meeting enterprises needs and improving productivity by allowing information to be treated in the field, while having access to enterprise information when out of the office.
The first engine for this platform uses some Windows Mobile 6.5 functions, adding security and management options while still providing more recent elements like a tactile layer and multiple wireless connections.
New features which remain continuous with the past Windows Embedded Handheld will remain compatible with the main professional application development environments, starting with Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 and Windows Forms. This will ensure that continuity will be maintained so that companies won’t have to adapt their existing systems to this new engine.
Microsoft has already promised a version of Windows Embedded Handheld based on Windows Embedded Compact 7, with it being planned to be made available by the second half of 2011. This will make the system more flexible in the connected handsets environment, while also adding the new Silverlight and XNA tools and the Visual Studio 2010 environment, allowing these new possibilities to be better exploited.
The Motorola ES400, announced today, is representative of this new generation of mobile enterprise products. The number of enterprise handsets should pass from 2.3 million units in 2009 to 4.3 million by 2014 according to the VDC Research group. Windows Embedded CE and Windows Mobile are present on 87% of shipped handsets, a number that Microsoft isn’t looking to easily give up to their competition.