Windows CE appears to be gaining momentum, as ISVs announced new applications at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Microsoft claimed that half a million handheld PCs (HPCs) have been shipped since the operating system was launched just over a year ago, and said more than 55 ISVs have announced plans to develop more than 260 new Windows CE applications.
At the show, Microsoft announced two new types of devices based on the Windows CE operating system. The existing Handheld PC (or HPC) is joined by the smaller, keyboardless Palm PC and the voice-controlled Auto PC, which can be mounted in a car's dashboard.
Metrowerks announced that its application development environment Code Warrior will support the development of Windows CE applications on all processor types on which CE now runs, including Mips, PowerPC, x86 and ARM. Network Associates, the former McAfee, said it is developing anti-virus software for Windows CE.
A number of vendors announced software for the new platforms, Palm PC and Auto PC. Communication Intelligence (CIC) has developed handwriting recognition software that will be included with the Palm PC version of Windows CE. The Auto PC version of Windows CE will ship with voice recognition and voice synthesis technology from Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products, a Belgian company in which Microsoft holds an eight per cent interest.
Bsquare Development is working on software that will allow users of Palm PCs to fax and print handwritten notes.
Companies developing for Auto PC include Etak and Infogation. Etak, a developer of digital mapping software, is developing a personal navigation product designed to run on both handheld and car-mounted Windows CE devices. The software is expected to be ready by the time the first Auto PCs ship, in the second quarter.
Infogation is working on a suite of applications for the Auto PC, including navigation, realtime traffic information, integration with cellphones and email. One component, Infogation Odyssey will use data from geographic databases and a GPS device to display maps, give directions, pinpoint the location of the car, and calculate routes.
Together with CUE Network, Infogation is developing wireless messaging for AutoPC. This will allow email, pager and real time traffic messages to be delivered to cars on the road using CUE's wireless network, said to cover 80 per cent of the US interstate highway system.
Navtech, a supplier of map databases, will make its data available to provide route information to Auto PC systems.
Microsoft has announced a Windows CE Developers Conference, to be held in San Jose, California, in April.
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