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Microsoft Announces Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Hitting OEMs in October

The first major update to Microsoft's embedded operating system for intelligent devices, Windows Embedded 8 Industry, will reach original equipment manufacturers on Oct. 18, Microsoft announced late last week.

The timing means Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry will be released on the same day as its desktop OS counterpart, Windows 8.1, as well as Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2 and an updated version of Windows Intune.

Microsoft has described Windows Embedded 8 Industry, which replaces the older Windows Embedded POSReady, as a "fixed-image OS," meaning applications on the OS are able to run on different devices used by the retail, automotive, health care and manufacturing industries. Windows Embedded 8 Industry comes in three editions: Pro, Pro Retail and Enterprise. The Pro and Pro Retail editions were released in April, while the Enterprise edition became available to volume licensing customers in July.

Microsoft launched a preview release of the Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry update during its Build developer conference in late June.

In a blog post, Windows Embedded Product Manager Cuong Pham outlined some of the improvements coming in the Oct. 18 update:

  • "Enhanced security through improvements in malware resistance, out-of-the box device encryption and biometrics;

  • "Deeper lockdown control with customizable scenarios, configuration and new ability to lockdown USB peripheral and hardware button;

  • "Expanded peripheral capabilities enabling support for magnetic stripe readers and barcode scanners in Windows 8.1 apps;

  • "Better manageability through enhanced enterprise connectivity and integration, new management scenarios with System Center, and updated Remote Desktop Protocol;

  • "Updated user experience including user interface improvements, updated charms, improved multi-monitor support and Internet Explorer 11;

  • "Improved connectivity and mobility with roaming enhancements, Bluetooth 4.0 support, and near-field communication printer support."

So far, Microsoft has not announced whether the three other products in its Windows Embedded line -- Windows Embedded 8 Pro, Windows Embedded 8 Standard and Windows Embedded 8 Handheld -- will receive 8.1 updates.

A commenter in Pham's blog asked specifically about an update for Windows Embedded 8 Standard, to which a moderator replied, "Windows Embedded remains committed to our partners and industry devices built on Windows Embedded 8 Standard, enabling partners to continue to build industry devices on today's Windows 8 technologies while not delivering an 8.1 update to Standard."

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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