RealTime IT News

Microsoft Bares More Code with New CE .NET

Microsoft officials announced Tuesday the availability of its latest version of Windows CE .NET, featuring a host of new enhancements for the operating system powering handheld and "smart" devices.

The Redmond, Wash., software giant has been lambasted in the past by developers for keeping Windows source code under wraps, but has shown evidence of loosening its hold a little.

Version 4.1 features more source code, officials said, for developers to test and troubleshoot devices and applications running on the Windows CE .NET OS. They've also made improvements to the source code browser, a searchable database that points developers to a particular area of the source code interfacing with the application or device.

The OS enhancement also sports a host of new technology enhancements:

  • IPv6 support, which is becoming more and more popular as a domain name addressing specification overseas
  • Users can view Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Adobe Acrobat and image files
  • Device emulator improvements, letting programmers test residential gateways and set-top boxes
  • Speech application program interface (API) improvements.
  • Updated .NET Compact Framework beta, for smart devices and handhelds using Web services applications
  • Performance improvements: 15 percent gains with Internet Explorer, a 20 percent gain for remote display protocol (RDP) users and a Windows Media performance boost of 20 percent

According to Microsoft officials, there have been more than 125,000 dowloads of parts of the Windows CE .NET source code since the source code was released to developers in February, under the Shared Source Initiative.

Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman and chief software architect, has been making the rounds this week in academic circles, touting the company's efforts to open up more of its source code to developers, and also get some ideas on future enhancements to the OS.

"Collaboration between industry and academia is crucial to deliver on our shared vision for the future of technology and education," Gates said to group of 325 faculty researchers Monday afternoon. "Microsoft remains committed to deepening its relationship with academia, because only be working together can we create the next generation of computing technology."

This collaboration made IPv6, which greatly expands the available number of possible IP addresses, a possibility in version 4.1. Teachers used the shared code to develop a program that lets IPv6 run on Windows CE .NET.

Microsoft officials say they have been working with Hitachi , NEC , Samsung and ViewSonic on a joint development program to create Windows CE .NET-based devices for the future.