Microsoft updates point-of-service software

Microsoft plans to issue an update for its retail point-of-service OS on Monday, adding features to make it easier to integrate peripheral devices.

Microsoft plans to issue this week an update for its retail point-of-service, adding features to make it easier to integrate peripheral devices, a company official said.

The OS, Windows Embedded for Point of Service (WEPOS) 1.1, runs on hardware such as cash registers or self-checkout devices at grocery stores. Microsoft released WEPOS in May 2005, the first time the company customized an OS for a specific market.

The update includes plug-and-play support for peripherals using POS for .Net, an interface for communicating with those devices, said Jason Demeny, lead product manager for Windows Mobile and Embedded Devices Group.

"For legacy systems, the integration of those peripherals is especially challenging," Demeny said.

Implementation of the Unified Point of Service device standard developed by the U.S. Association for Retail Technology Standards wasn't always consistent, Demeny said. POS for .Net supports both the 1.8 and now the newer 1.9 version of the standard, he said.

With POS for .Net, Microsoft has refined how devices communicate with the applications running on the OS. "We've streamlined all of that," Demeny said.

The new capability means peripherals can be integrated into the system in a matter of minutes rather than months, Demeny said. POS for .Net will be a free download for retailers who are already using Windows XP Professional on their point-of-service devices, he said.

Other improvements in WEPOS 1.1 include support for Microsoft's .Net 2.0 framework, more "robust" disk partitioning for device manufacturers during installation and expanded support for mass storage devices, Demeny said.

The minimum hardware requirements to run WEPOS 1.1 are a 233MHz Pentium processor with 280MB of hard drive space. WEPOS 1.1 will run on machines with 64MB of RAM but 128MB or more is recommended, Demeny said.

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