Microsoft chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates yesterday slashed the price of the Win CE .Net 4.2 mobile operating system.
The company introduced a licensing model for OEMs, dubbed Windows CE .Net 4.2 Core, which will provide developers of mobile devices incorporating Microsoft's real-time platform with the operating system code for an estimated retail price of $3.
Microsoft said that the Windows CE .Net 4.2 Core licence is targeted at developers of low-cost devices such as gateways, entry-level VoIP phones, industrial automation equipment and consumer electronic devices such as CD players, digital cameras and networked DVD players.
The Redmond giant also unveiled a free, non-commercial distribution licence for Windows CE .Net 4.2, aimed at embedded partners, developers and device manufacturers that need to share device images based on Windows CE.
"Smart, connected devices are playing an increasingly significant role in everyday life and are a key part of our Digital Decade vision," said Gates.
"Our new low-cost Windows CE .Net 4.2 Core licence is a rich platform that enables manufacturers and developers to quickly utilise Windows CE across a broad range of these devices, and our free non-commercial licence and tools will help foster innovation."
John Taylor, marketing manager at Microsoft reseller Trustmarque, suggested that the growth of mobile devices running the CE platform is "trickling upwards", but predicted wider adoption when a more standard device comes to market.
"The functionality of the new smartphones is almost the same as PDAs. If you are a business it is hard to know which to go for," he said.
"There are so many converging technologies such as smartphones, laptops, PDAs. But it shows that Microsoft is serious about the mobile market."
Microsoft claimed that it has opened up more than two million lines of code under the Shared Source Program for Windows CE, allowing developers to view and modify source code for non-commercial purposes.
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