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Microsoft Rolls Out 'Talisker' Beta 2

With Microsoft's announcement today of its release of the beta 2 version of the next version of the Windows CE operating system comes the promise of smarter networked mobile devices. Codenamed "Talisker," the successor to Windows CE 3.0 gives embedded developers the opportunity to start working on prototypes of the next generation of mobile devices.

By designing with Talisker, developers will be able to create 32-bit connected devices that are rich in applications and services. For OEMS developing smart mobile devices, such as PDAs and smart phones, it signals an opportunity to create mobile devices with reliable persistent storage systems in a small form without the power requirements, space constraints or data loss issues of hard drives. "As OEMs continue to build devices on smaller and smaller form factors, storage management is becoming a critical consideration," said Keith White, senior director of the embedded and appliance platforms group at Microsoft.

According to Microsoft, Talisker is an important development because it provides reliable network support through Bluetooth and 802.1x technologies, supports enhanced multimedia technologies such as DirectX. and Windows Media codecs and multilanguage functionality for Asian languages, and improved security through Extensible Authorization Protocol. Other features of beta 2 include real-time collaboration capabilities using the SIP industry standard, enabling messaging audio (Voice over IP) between any two IP-enabled devices.

Recognizing the importance of getting developed products to market with cost-efficient swiftness, Microsoft has made available the Talisker Emulation Edition Preview, a free download that will let developers build and test their Talisker-based designs on Windows 2000 or Windows XP workstations without having to expend resources on additional hardware. Alternatively, developers can order the Talisker Technology Preview, which includes all supported processor architectures and is available on CD or DVD.

In order to gain technical feedback from the industry, Microsoft instituted the Talisker Rapid Development Program (RDP). RDP members include Intermec Technologies Corp., Siemens AG and Wyse Technology, companies that have committed to actively develop products and services based on beta version of Talisker. For their part in the development, the companies are provided with early access to code that will reduce their time to market when the final version of Talisker ships by the end of 2001.

According to Bill Veghte, vice president of the Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group at Microsoft, Talisker beta 2 will continue to build on Microsoft's commitment to build the next generation of smart, connected devices. "The broad code availability offered through the Technology Preview Program combined with the in-depth alliance of the RDP will ensure that Microsoft gathers extensive developer feedback while providing our partners and customers with early access to the next version of Windows CE," he said.

One company that has already been developing with Talisker is M-Systems. By implementing its flash disk technology - DiskOnChip - in Talisker, OEMs can store data onto the flash disk with 100% hard disk emulation, which in turn saves parts, integration time and board space.

"Working with Microsoft has strengthened the growing support for DiskOnChip in Windows CE-based applications," said Chuck Schouw, president and CEO of M-Systems, Inc. "The DiskOnChip product line has traditionally worked with Windows applications. We are excited to see the new operating system features and its USB connectivity for portable storage devices including our DiskOnKey. We will continue to develop our flash data storage technology for this increasingly sophisticated market."