Windows XP Embedded gets first set of fixes

Microsoft Corp. released its first set of software updates to its Windows XP Embedded operating system, it announced Tuesday at its Windows Embedded DevCon conference in Las Vegas.

Windows XP Embedded Service Pack 1 contains new features that allow embedded developers to add remote management capabilities and estimate the impact of additional components on a device's software image, said Keith White, senior director of marketing for the Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group at Microsoft.

The company will also include its .Net framework in Service Pack 1, allowing developers to write and deploy Web applications written on its .Net platform, White said. Microsoft's .Net platform is a collection of guidelines for developing Web services, which allow applications written in XML (Extensible Markup Language) to interact with other XML-based applications.

Windows XP Embedded is used in a wide variety of what Microsoft calls "full-featured connected devices," such as point-of-sale terminals, set-top boxes, and cash machines. The service pack released Tuesday is the componentized version of the Windows XP Service Pack 1 released Sept. 9, and contains all the features found in that release, White said.

Microsoft announced a special pricing plan for Windows XP Embedded with Service Pack 1, but only for a six-month period. Developers worldwide can obtain the toolkit for US$995 through March 31, 2003.

Administrators will be able to manage Windows XP Embedded devices remotely with Remote Boot, which will allow the devices to receive software updates and boot instructions without a physical connection to a server. Another feature, Device Update Agent, enables small incremental software updates to be sent to devices that have already been deployed, alleviating the need to round up disparate devices, White said.

Device developers can also now see the impact additional components will have on the software image of an embedded device with Footprint Estimator, making it easier to decide whether the new configuration results in an image size beyond what its user desires, Microsoft said in a release.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, also added support for IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6), which improves routing capabilities and security, and USB (universal serial bus) 2.0, a technology for connected peripheral devices such as keyboards or digital cameras. Over 20 languages are also now supported by Windows XP Embedded.

An evaluation copy can be downloaded at a separate announcement, Transmeta Corp. announced Tuesday that its Crusoe processors are the first to be certified by Microsoft for Windows XP Embedded with Service Pack 1.

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