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Intel Developers Forum: Microsoft unveils Win CE.net service pack

Microsoft released details of new features for the Win CE.net handheld OS, including an SMS client and support for IP Version 6.

Service Pack Release 1 of Win CE.net will add an SMS client, support for IPV6, and viewers for all Office applications and Adobe files, said Microsoft product manager Scott Phillips.

Most salient among the numerous tidbits unveiled at the session was the news that Service Pack 1 for the Win CE.net will also support the .net Compact Framework in the second half of this year.

The .net Compact Framework is a "subset" of the desktop .net desktop platform with full Web services protocol support and will allow users to use Visual Studio.net as well as other third-party tools for application development across multiple CPUs (central processing units), according to Philips.

"With the support of the .net Compact Framework, developers will be able to target multiple devices with one application tool," said Phillips.

Support for IPV6 on the handheld side completes Microsoft's promise to support the new Internet naming infrastructure on all of its operating systems. IPV6 allows for "n" number of unique addresses. Full support for IPV6 for Windows XP is also expected this year as well as support in the yet-unreleased XP server OS.

Service Pack 1 will also make the Win CE.net source code "more available," said Phillips.

"We still retain the [Intellectual Property] rights, it is not like Linux, but we have been opening up the source code in Win CE over time," Phillips added.

Windows developers had mixed reactions to the Microsoft source code strategy.

Clemens Butz, senior product manager at bSquare, said it would make debugging easier for developers.

But Majid Anwar, chief scientist for Picsel Technologies, and other developers believe the strategy is intended to push more of the work back onto the developers.

"Microsoft is leaving it to the [system manufacturers] to optimise their applications for the operating system. They are now just supplying low-level drivers," said Anwar.

Steven Dyer, marketing manager at Accelent Systems, which makes toolkits for Win CE.net developers, also said by making the source code available, Microsoft is asking developers to do more on their own.

"Our challenge is to see how we can help the developer community use [source code]," Dyer said.

Phillips said Service Pack 1 for Win CE.net will be optimised for the Intel x-scale architecture and will also include an ARM Version 5 compiler.

Following the service pack update, Microsoft plans to unveil Macallan, the code name for the next version of Win CE.net, in 2003. Phillips also revealed that the code name for the next version of Window Embedded XP is Longhorn.

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