Talisker supports Bluetooth

At the Embedded Systems Conference in San Francisco last month, Microsoft announced the release of beta 1 of “Talisker,” the code name for the next Microsoft Windows CE platform.

According to Microsoft, Talisker is designed for small-footprint connected mobile devices such as the Pocket PC and handheld devices, and will deliver up-to-date wireless and multimedia functionality to allow embedded developers to bring connected devices to market faster.

The beta 1 of Talisker has been released to approximately 300 beta testers. According to Megan Kidd, product manager in Microsoft’s embedded and appliance platform group, through the beta testing, Microsoft is attempting to discern how well the toolset works as well as the functionality of the operating system itself.

“We are very excited about (Talisker) and are looking forward to delivering it by the end of the year,” Kidd said. “We are making sure that it has the functionality and the toolset that is really going to enable developers to bring these small-footprint devices to market.”

Microsoft said that among the new features in Talisker beta 1 are better wireless and network connectivity through native support for Bluetooth, Universal Plug and Play and new USB drivers. In addition, the operating system provides enhanced multimedia functionality with DVD support, as well as functionalities including installable interrupt service routines (ISRs), new BSPs and customizable UI services.

“If you are looking at the embedded market, it is moving at an enormous rate,” Kidd said. “I think people are moving away from the PC. I think the PC is here to stay, but people are looking at using other devices in conjunction with their PC. I think that there is a big market out there and with Talisker specifically, we are going to continue to enhance the functionality that we are providing on this platform.”

According to Paul Zorfass, senior analyst with IDC and FTI in Framingham, Mass., Microsoft has come to grips with its product view and how it wants to go forward in the marketplace with CE and Talisker.

“Software as it is released tends to get better because the suppliers are learning more,” Zorfass said. “I think [Microsoft] has listened to the marketplace. One thing about software products is that they don’t succeed on their own. They need appropriate designers and developers who are doing the training and who are also demonstrating success stories. Microsoft is still eager to be a player in the embedded space and to provide the required run-time tools.”

According to Kidd, Microsoft plans to conduct beta 2 of Talisker in Q3 of this year and plans to release the operating system by the end of the year.

Zorfass noted that other major players in the embedded space have deeper and wider systems, and that Microsoft is a younger technology and Talisker has identified wireless networking as its market.