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Embedded OSes Based on Windows 7 Near

Microsoft expects to announce Tuesday that three upcoming versions of Windows Embedded, one built on Windows 7, have been released to manufacturing.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) plans to tell attendees at the Embedded Systems Conference in Boston that it has sent Windows Embedded Enterprise, Windows Embedded Server, and Windows Embedded CE 6.0 Release 3 (R3) to manufacturing and to embedded device makers.

Based on Windows 7, Windows Embedded Enterprise will be available to device manufacturers in two different editions -- Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate. Both are full-blown versions of desktop Windows 7 that are license-restricted to run only embedded applications.

For instance, Embedded Enterprise might be used in information kiosks, automated teller machines, and in digital signage, Ashwin Kulkarni, a senior product manager for embedded Windows, told InternetNews.com.

Among the capabilities provided by Embedded Enterprise is multi-touch screen control provided by Windows 7.

The announcements come on the heels of the community technology preview (CTP) of Windows Embedded Standard 2011 in early September. Embedded Standard is based on Windows 7.

Meanwhile, Embedded Server is based on Windows Server 2008 R2, which shares much of the same code base with Windows 7. One of the important features provided by the server edition is support for Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization technology.

Additionally, the new release of Embedded CE adds support for Microsoft's Silverlight streaming media technology, including the ability to run outside of a browser.

"This next generation of [embedded CE] is designed for small footprint, low-energy devices such as GPS units and portable media players," David Wurster, another senior product manager for Windows embedded, told InternetNews.com.

Wurster referred to them as "consumer Internet devices," describing them as devices that "sit between PCs and phones."

Timing for release of devices based on the new systems are not dependent on Microsoft, but rather on the device makers, Wurster said.

More information regarding the new Windows Embedded systems is available here.