Microsoft has announced plans to offer Windows Embedded in webbooks, in an effort to stave off competition from smaller operating systems aimed at what Microsoft calls consumer internet devices (CIDs).
Cut-price compact netbooks have soared to a fifth of all laptop sales, but Microsoft appears to be hedging its bets on CIDs, with larger screens and full-sized keyboards.
Microsoft said that its upcoming Windows 7 would work in smaller netbooks that usually run Intel's Atom processors.
But smartbook manufacturers, which more commonly run ARM processors for a longer battery life, will be offered Windows Embedded.
Kevin Dallas, Microsoft Windows Embedded business general manager, told IDG in an interview that Windows Embedded offers original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners strong support on various mainstream architectures, including ARM, Intel (x86), and MIPS.
"Windows 7 is designed in a way that any edition of the operating system should be able to run on small notebook PCs with sufficient hardware," he said. "In terms of specific platform and version, generally speaking we believe that Windows Embedded CE is an ideal platform for CID development."
Microsoft later confirmed to V3.co.uk: "Microsoft is working with its partners to drive innovation in the category of Consumer Internet Devices (CIDs), which combines next generation Windows Embedded software for devices with the power of the internet to provide key common consumer experiences across an array of devices."
While Dallas did not admit any threat in this space from the likes of Google's Android or Chrome OS, Intel's Moblin or even Qualcomm's Snapdragon, he admitted to a recent spike in interest among OEMs in CID development.
"CIDs are a broad category of devices that range from smartphones to netbooks, such as personal navigation devices, portable media players, set-top boxes and networked TVs," he said.
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