Windows Embedded Compact 7 Released (not killed)

In case you missed the pretty quiet announcement this week, Windows CE Windows Embedded Compact (love those marketers) 7.0 was released to manufacturers this week.  You can download the eval as well.

There are some nice new features in this release, but what’s more important is that it’s actually been released.  There seems to have been a lot of speculation lately about the demise of CE, and this concretely says “no, CE is not dead”.  This release means that it is officially a supported product for the next 5 years with extended support for another 5 after that.

I spent most of this week in Redmond talking with some of the teams and I came away with a pretty positive impression about the future of CE Compact.  Microsoft has failed lately to provide information about the future and direction of Compact, and that lack of communication has led to a lot of people making implicit assumptions that we’ve been reassured are not true.

I don’t have any specifics that I can share right now, but I can say that I personally would have no qualms about recommending CE 7 Embedded Compact 7 and the Compact Framework as a base for new products that you intend to ship for the next decade. 

I’ll share more news as I get it.

6 thoughts on “Windows Embedded Compact 7 Released (not killed)”

  1. This is great news! Really great news!

    Though it leaves me with 3 more questions:

    1. Why didn’t Microsoft say this when they were getting hammered online for abandoning the CE Line. (I know it was briefly mentioned, but it could have been reiterated to save Microsoft a lot of lost "Developer Goodwill".)

    2. Is there going to be a "Windows Mobile" kind of build from this release? Something for those of us who just buy devices from Symbol and don’t need a custom CE OS?

    3. Is there any hope for Visual Studio 2010 support for any of this?

    Even if the answer is "No" for the last two, this is still good news for Enterprise .NET Mobile developers.


  2. 1. Who knows. We pointed that failure out to them a few weeks ago in Redmond.
    2. Yes. It’s called "Windows Embedded Handheld" and is just a rebranding/renaming of WinMo 6.5. OEMs like Symbol, Intermec, etc. still have access to this. It’s *not* based on CE 7.0, however. Microsoft hasn’t announced if they plan to make a WEH adaptation based on CE 7 though.
    3. Well I like to think there’s always hope, though Microsoft really isn’t giving any info on their plans. They’re aware of the pain lack of VS2010 support is causing us (I made certain of that), but if theyll act on it is still unknown (to me anyway).


  3. This information is particularly salient as for the millionth time today VS 2010 attempts to open and "upgrade" my old CE project into a state of non-buildableness. 😦


  4. Chris, from your post it sounds like Microsoft is committed to the Windows CE platform. However are they abandoning the .NET CF for unmanaged code development only?
    There has been no update to the .NET CF since approximately 2009! is this a sign we should be looking for alternative development environments for embedded development.


  5. Glen, Microsoft has, indeed, assured me that they are Committed to the Embedded market, including CE/Compact. The CF is a bit more nebulous. Sure, they ship it with Compact 7, so it’s officially "supported" for the next 10 years, but I fully agree that there has been no change in 3+ years to it. I’m trying very hard to work with them to get some sort of (hopefully interesting and positive) answer to this question. I’ll definitely let you know when we get something.


  6. As I don’t have a decent forum these days – here is a tip. Visual Studio 2008 seems to hang a lot when opening files, especially in CE projects. There is a post somewhere out there suggesting to uninstall Web Authoring tools that install with VS2008. This usually helps, but recently the problem started occurring again. This time the culprit turned out to be WebMatrix. Bottom line – on CE development systems try to avoid having web developer tools installed.
    As a footnote – this was being reported for over a year. One would think a patch for the Studio could have been released


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