Windows CE .net version 4.2 will incorporate features such as support for VoIP, a firewall and wireless networking support for residential gateways, said Chip Schnarel, group program manager for Windows CE OS development at Microsoft.
Among the changes being made to the OS is a feature designed to improve the compatibility of application programming interfaces for software developed for PDAs running Microsoft's Pocket PC software and other devices running software based on Windows CE .net.
To make this possible, the software will allow developers to change an application's user interface so that it can be displayed on different-sized screens while maintaining compatibility at the API level, Schnarel said. This would allow developers to port their applications to different Windows CE-based devices more easily.
Microsoft is also developing prototype devices based on the VoIP and residential gateway technologies included with the software, to help device makers shorten the time that it takes to develop these types of products.
"We want to make sure the technology is good enough," Schnarel said, adding that the design information for these prototypes would be shared with developers.
The updated OS will include a sample VoIP application and offer a proxy client that will allow VoIP applications to be used through firewalls, Schnarel said. For residential gateway products, the software will offer a firewall and support for 802.11b, which will allow device makers to offer residential gateways that also function as wireless access points.
Microsoft is working on another version of Windows CE, codenamed Macallan, expected to ship in 2004.