Windows CE, Microsoft’s stunted middle child, reaches end of support at 26 years


Aurich Lawson | Getty Photographs

It was a proto-netbook, it was a palmtop, it was a PDA, it was Home windows Cellphone 7 however not Home windows Cellphone 8, after which it was an embedded ghost. It mother and father by no means appeared to know what to do with it after it grew up, past provide it up for anyone to form in their very own picture. After which, earlier this month, with little discover, Home windows CE was no extra, at the least as a supported working system. Home windows Embedded Compact 2013, higher (however not popularly) often called Home windows CE 8.0, reached end of support on October 10, 2023, as noted by The Register.

Home windows CE, which had a name that didn’t stand for anything and was usually compacted to an embarrassing “wince,” just isn’t survived by something, actually. Remembrances have been provided by every Microsoft CEO since its inception and one former Ars writer. A public service for the working system might be held within the feedback.

The OS that slot in small areas

Home windows CE was initially Microsoft Pegasus, a crew working to create a really low-power, MIPS or SuperH-based reference platform for producers making the smallest computer systems with keyboards you might make again then. Gadgets just like the NEC MobilePro 200, Casio (Cassiopeia) A-10, and HP 300LX began showing in late 1996 and early 1997, with tiny keyboards, more-landscape-than-landscape shows, and, by fashionable requirements, a powerful variety of ports.

Windows CE 6, looking about as spacious as it was.

Home windows CE 6, trying about as spacious because it was.

Pegasus arrived to most shoppers as Home windows CE 1.0, and, by all accounts, it had plenty of issues, at the least should you have been anticipating it to be something like Home windows. The cellular OS could not work with Microsoft’s Outlook, then a brand new addition to Workplace 97, till an replace was shipped in March 1997, and it was nonetheless proof against work with nearly some other mail or private data administration (PIM) techniques. Builders likewise did not discover the platform too interesting, because it requires none-too-cheap Microsoft’s Visible Studio, Visible Fundamental, or Visible C++ instruments, together with CE-specific module purchases.

By the point Ars Technica began mentioning Home windows CE in 2003, it was nicely on its strategy to turning into Microsoft’s “Positive, now we have an OS for that” resolution. It was the embedded “Home windows CE for Good Shows” OS for a ViewSonic airpanel V150p, which allow you to remotely management a desktop from one thing that you simply would possibly, at an angle, name a pill. It was modified with “Home windows XP extensions” to energy a $250 AMD “Personal Internet Communicator” meant for “rising markets” in 2004.

By the point it hit 5.0 in 2005, Home windows CE was now additionally Windows Automotive 5.0, a part of Invoice Gates’ pledge to have “30 p.c of vehicles” operating Home windows CE in them by July 2006. Gates didn’t hit this purpose. Nonetheless, in mid-2005, Home windows CE was put in in nearly half the PDAs sold, with most of its share having been clawed out of Palm’s clutches. Later that yr, Palm introduced that its latest system, the Treo 650, was running Windows Mobile.

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