The second beta is expected to be the last test version before the final code is released later in the year. The new software will be made available to anyone willing to pay the shipping and handling costs. The first version was only made available to around 200 testers.
With Psion now out of the picture and Palm also struggling a little, industry watchers have observed that a growing number of hardware companies are now backing Windows CE as a mobile platform.
Windows CE has been a considerable success for Microsoft but Quocirca analyst Clive Longbottom said new technologies will pose new challenges to its superiority.
Longbottom observed, "When Bluetooth and other wireless technologies really start to come through and we start to look at totally different device form factors, I think that Microsoft could find themselves struggling again because you are then looking far more at real-time operating systems rather than the Microsoft Windows style."
Another factor could be the emergence of devices based on Linux. "As we move forwards and start to see these different form factors coming through, we may see Linux-based devices begin to come to the fore, and it will be interesting to see how Microsoft can compete against that," he said.