Microsoft has created a program for electronics manufacturers that combines basic hardware with Windows CE .net or Windows XP embedded to encourage suppliers to try Windows for new products.
The Windows Embedded Evaluation Hardware Kitting Program enables electronics makers to get Windows CE .net or Windows XP preloaded on the board they use at the heart of a new product.
Electronics companies can build as many as 1,000 units of the product without having to pay a software licensing fee.
They will also get the Windows Embedded Evaluation Toolkit, said Debby Fry Wilson, director of Microsoft's Embedded and Appliance Platform Group.
"You get the [operating system] and the tools for free. In addition, you get to build a device image and deploy that up to 1,000 units with no licence fees involved," she said.
Such extra units typically are used for demonstrations and testing. Previously, Microsoft charged a licensing fee once the operating system was used in more than one unit, she said.
Microsoft's embedded software is already under trial in products including sewing machines and exercise bikes.
Joris Evers writes for IDG News Service
This was first published in June 2003