Microsoft takes wraps off Embedded NT

Microsoft officially moved into the embedded systems market last week with the release of Windows NT Embedded 4.0, which the company is aiming at retail sales, telecommunications, manufacturing, Internet appliances, and other vertical markets.

NT 4.0 Embedded will be sold as a run-time operating system through OEMs, which will be able to customise the software to fit particular tasks.

It will be sold on a per-seat basis based on four pricing models, two aimed at workstation functionality and two devoted to server functionality. The cheaper models will not include graphical user interfaces, according to Vince Mendillo, lead product manager for NT Embedded.

In addition to the functionality found in NT 4.0, up to Service Pack 5, the system boasts support for "headless" operation, diskless operation, and remote management. Also included are two new tools: Target Designer, an authoring tool for selecting NT platform components, and Component Designer, designed to help developers integrate applications and third-party components, according to Microsoft.

"Developers building embedded devices now have an open, reliable platform from which they can create innovative new solutions and bring them to market faster than ever," Jim Allchin, senior vice president of Microsoft's platforms division, said in a statement. "These solutions based on Windows NT Embedded 4.0 will enable customers to streamline and automate processes through the use of a wide range of new intelligent devices."

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