Microsoft has officially released a version of Windows 10 for small devices including the Raspberry Pi 2 and the MinnowBoard Max, enabling enthusiasts and businesses alike to build apps for these devices using Visual Studio developer tools.
Windows 10 IoT Core is now available to download from the Windows IoT Dev Centre for the Raspberry Pi 2 and the MinnowBoard Max, both single-board computers aimed at hobbyist project makers and others.
Users will not see anything like the Windows 10 interface that launched with the PC version of the platform last month, but will be able to create Universal Windows Platform apps for the devices using tools common to all versions of Windows 10.
Steve Teixeira, Microsoft's group programme manager for the Internet of Things (IoT), explained on the Building Apps for Windows blog that Windows 10 IoT Core is targeted at devices that may or may not have screens, and hence does not feature a Windows shell experience or a user interface of any kind.
"Instead you can write a Universal Windows app that is the interface and ‘personality' for your device. IoT core is designed to have a low barrier to entry and make it easy to build professional-grade devices. It's designed to work with a variety of open source languages and works well with Visual Studio," he said.
The existence of Windows 10 for such small devices was revealed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation earlier this year with the launch of the Raspberry Pi 2, featuring a more powerful 900MHz quad-core processor and 1GB of memory and delivering six times the performance of previous models. This was followed by the first public preview of Windows 10 IoT Core at Microsoft's Build event in April.
The Raspberry Pi 2 is based on the ARM architecture, but the MinnowBoard Max runs a x86-based Intel Atom chip so users need to download the correct version of Windows 10 IoT Core for their target platform. They will also need a development system running the release version of Windows 10 and Visual Studio 2015, Microsoft said.
The release version of Windows 10 IoT Core adds support for WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, along with a host of enhancements such as speedier handling of input/output ports, improved support for Python and Node.js, and control over system management features like time zone and network connections through new Universal Windows Platform APIs.
Teixeira warned those who have been testing the public preview code that changes in the Visual Studio project system mean that any projects created with it may have to be rebuilt.
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