It is clear Microsoft (s msft) is feeling the heat of competition from Apple’s (s aapl) iPad and Google’s (s goog) Android tablets. The folks in Redmond have launched a new version of Windows 7 embedded that is clearly designed to be used in slate devices and other handheld gadget. There are not a lot of technical details about Windows Embedded Compact 7 (catchy name, no?) available, but it seems to be a compartmentalized version of Windows 7 that can be embedded at the hardware level for handheld gadgets.
The company is touting the multitouch natural interface that supports panning and pinch zooming. The full desktop browsing experience is also plugged by Microsoft that extends to Silverlight and Flash 10.1 support. A fast track to market for new devices is part of the pitch for the new OS, along with the natural development for apps using Visual Studio.
It is going to be interesting to watch this new embedded OS unfold, and it is clear that Microsoft is going to put some effort behind getting it on partner devices. The impressive display of prototype tablets running it at Computex is evidence of that. Microsoft clearly has the ability to pull this off, and it is good to see them move forward with this effort. It is a bit strange to hear them talk about this “emerging tablet” market, having played in it for years.
Image credit: Engadget
Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): How Microsoft Can Win Back the Tablet Market