The History of Windows CE:
Windows CE .net
The future for the Handheld PC may seem uncertain. It is however,
only uncertain from the point of view of Microsoft development aspirations
for being the dominant player in the PDA market.
Windows CE 4.0 Net
Windows CE 4.0 devices first appeared in March 2002, finally making it onto
high volume consumer devices with the June 2003 release of Windows Mobile 2003
(Pocket PC 2003).
Windows CE has proved itself a robust, multifunction, multi-device platform
and an asset to Microsoft. For this it is certain that Windows CE is here to
Microsoft have raced through development on the CE 4 core, incrementing two
minor versions of the Platform Builder Windows CE Net 4.1 and 4.2 respectively)
in 12 months.
Further development is on the horizon with the Windows CE team working
on the future of the Embedded Operating System, in the form of Macallan,
Unfortunately what looked good on paper for the Handheld PC with
Windows CE 4 has, to the largest extent, failed to come through
for the platform. Especially for the Clamshell market.
While some inroads have been made at bringing about something of a renaissance
for Sub-Notebook class Handheld PCs, there was only one true Clamshell with
any promise for reviving the fortunes of the community. The NEC MobilePro 900.
With this the hopes that the device would be noticed were rested, but for mismanagement,
an aversion towards marketing and an inflated price on March 31st 2005 NEC threw
in the towel, discontinuing the last of the great HVGA devices, and bringing
one of Microsoft's most influential journeys, spanning seven years to a quite
and almost unobserved end.
The crux of the matter is that Windows CE 4.x devices are shipping
with ROM images designed for development and corporate level tasks.
The software shipping on the devices is not designed with the consumer
or for ergonomic use as a PC companion.
This is where changes to the Windows Mobile 2003 licensing could
aid the Clamshell and indeed ever the Sub-Note.
At this time the idea of running Windows Mobile on a Handheld, is
something of a divisive issue within the community. We hope that
we will be given the opportunity to continue the discussion.
As for the thousands of loyal users of the much loved Handheld
PC Platform, and Clamshell device types. The H/PC will only die
if we let it. Patience, time and experience shows that developers
will rise to the challenge if prompted in the right direction. There
are many keen and dedicated users out there who are willing to take
the time to campaign for the Handheld PC.
there are such people out there, there will always be an OEM which
sees an opportunity to develop the Clamshell in its own little way.
Despite the fact that there has been little back-end change to the
platform. The H/PC is evolving, slowly. Productivity is being addressed
by the adventurous developer. New technologies that take the IT
world by storm invariably have trickled down into the H/PC universe.
Allowing the users to discover something new about the platform.
Allow it to take them somewhere where they couldn't go before.
The Pocket PC devices are not for everyone, if more people could be shown the
benefits of the platform it would once again earn its place in the developmental
bench at Microsoft. Its easy to forget that the Handheld PC is as much a part
of the Pocket PC, as OS/2 is part of Windows NT*.
The grandfather of the CE world still has much to teach, and many, many years
left to do it.
Windows Mobile 2003
Windows Mobile 2003 SE
Windows CE 4.x Release History
- CE 4.0 Net Core (Talisker, January 7th 2002)
- CE 4.1 Net Core (Jameson, June 2002)
- CE 4.2 Net Core (McKendric, April 23rd 2003)
- CE 4.2 Windows Automotive Net (March 26th 2003; Successor to CE for Automotive
- CE 4.2 Windows Mobile 2003 (Ozone, 23rd June 2003, Pocket PC
- CE 4.2 Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition (24th March 2004,
Pocket PC release)
CE 4.1 Screenshots | Windows CE 4.2 Screenshots | Handheld
PC Device List
* For anyone unfamiliar with the development of Windows NT. The
NT project came about because of Microsoft working with IBM & others on
OS/2. Microsoft withdrew from the NT project after discovering the merits and
its ability to code a new Operating System from the ground up. Windows NT is
the back bone of NT 3.1, NT 3.5, NT 3.51, NT 4, Windows 2000 (NT 5), Windows
XP (NT 5.1), Windows Server 2003 (NT 5.2) and the future Windows 2005 (NT 6
It is commonly mistaken that NT stands for New Technology. This
was a Marketing creation from Microsoft. NT originally stood for
N-Ten, after the Processor platform that NT was originally coded
for. (Factual Source: Win
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