Microsoft has delivered improvements to its version of the Windows 10 platform for small, low-cost devices like the Raspberry Pi 2 single-board computer, making it officially available for commercial hardware developers to use at the same time.
Available to download now, Windows 10 IoT Core is designed for devices and embedded applications, and "provides an optimised platform for building smaller and low cost industry devices like IoT gateways", according to Microsoft.
The new release adds a number of feature improvements, but also marks an important step in the evolution of Windows 10 IoT Core, the firm said, as it is the first time it has been officially available for commercial use by hardware partners. The initial release was intended for 'makers' and hobbyists only.
"Today, Windows 10 IoT Core is available to all device builders and we are working with our ecosystem partners to provide you, as a developer, with the hardware and software options you need to be successful in this market," said Billy Anders, partner director for Windows IoT programme management at Microsoft, writing on the Windows Experience blog.
Among the updates is the addition of a Windows 10 IoT Core Pro version of the platform that provides the ability to defer updates and control their distribution through Windows Server Update Services in a similar way to the Windows Update for Business feature for desktop systems.
The standard, royalty-free Windows 10 IoT Core version will automatically install updates as they are pushed out by Microsoft.
Other improvements include a new ‘direct memory access bus' driver that enables developers to use low-level native code to handle input/output operations, a move that can make such operations up to 100 times faster.
Microsoft has also added full support for the serial port on the Raspberry Pi 2, and for a wider range of WiFi chipsets, especially those commonly used in USB dongle hardware, to make it easier to connect Windows 10 IoT Core devices to a network.
Visual Studio can also now import code for the popular Arduino single board computer, enabling developers to use existing Arduino Wiring Sketches, libraries and hardware with Universal Windows Apps on Windows 10 IoT Core.
Finally, Microsoft said that Premier Farnell's Element 14 is supporting Windows 10 IoT Core as part of its recently launched Raspberry Pi Customisation Service, under which Premier will manufacture turnkey hardware designs based on the Raspberry Pi to match customer requirements.
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