Microsoft releases Windows Automotive 5.0

Microsoft Corp. Tuesday unveiled a new version of its Windows platform for building applications for the automotive industry.

At the Microsoft Windows Automotive Conference 2005 in Yokohama, Japan, the vendor released Windows Automotive 5.0, which is based on Microsoft’s embedded Windows CE 5.0 operating system, according to the company.

The software is aimed specifically at custom development of in-vehicle applications such as navigation, entertainment and communication systems, Microsoft said in a press statement.

New features in the latest release include the Automotive User Interface Toolkit and expanded virtual memory support to enable the development of 3-D graphics and sophisticated navigation displays, according to Microsoft. Windows Automotive 5.0 also includes performance improvements such as enhanced power management and faster boot times.

Additionally, the platform features a new set of development tools aimed at simplifying the creation of applications and improving their reliability, according to Microsoft.

The Automotive System Tools suite includes a System Design Tool for visualizing memory allocation, usage and thread status, as well as a System Building Block Tool for visually configuring software components. The new toolset also includes test modules and other engineering guidelines for developers.

Microsoft has been bolstering its investment in delivering software aimed specifically at vertical markets, and has been highly encouraging its partners to verticalize their businesses as well.

Though some partners have balked at this idea because it may require them to change their business models, one partner who attended Microsoft’s recent Worldwide Partner Conference 2005 in Minneapolis said he agreed with the notion.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said David Hurley, managing director for Anglia Business Solutions Ltd., a Cambridge, U.K.-based consulting company. He said that companies can accelerate the development and deployment of applications by honing them to focus on the particular business requirements of vertical markets.

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