Windows Embedded 8 Released
Microsoft has announced the release of Windows Embedded 8 (WE8), the version of Windows designed for commercial and industrial applications. In contrast to the previously released Windows 8, the Embedded version is designed for use in applications such as dedicated point-of-sale devices, healthcare, and manufacturing systems.
The WE8 platform is composed of three different releases: Standard, Pro, and Industry Release Preview. They serve different markets, with Microsoft explaining it this way:
Standard - “... a fully functional version of Microsoft’s desktop operating system intended for use in an embedded solution consisting of purpose-built hardware and application software.”
Pro - “... a componentized version of Windows 8 with additional technologies that extend the power of Windows to specialized devices.”
Industry Release Preview – Is designed for “... building differentiated devices that are part of an Intelligent System” which Microsoft indicates would be found in the retail, financial, and hospitality sectors.
Windows Embedded offers Lockdown, features designed to give OEMs and device manufacturers greater control over Windows' operation. These include Keyboard Filter, Dialog Filter, Application Launcher, and Embedded Lockdown Manager.
Another benefit of using Windows Embedded over the typical Windows desktop client is the increased product support life-cycle. The embedded series have a 10-year support period and an overall product availability of 15 years. Note that unlike Windows Embedded Compact 7, the WE8 platform requires the use of a third-party plug-in to provide real-time OS support.