At Build 2020, we announced the upcoming availability of the Windows CE App Container technology. The technology allows CE applications to run on top of x64 and ARM32 systems using Windows 10 IoT Core Services. I’m happy to announce that this technology is generally available today!!
We’ve previously discussed how this technology works, but one question customers have asked is when they should take this gradual approach and when does it make sense to just move their application natively to Windows 10 IoT.
All roads lead to Windows 10 IoT Enterprise
As we announced at Build 2020, the 2021 long term supported release of Windows 10 IoT Enterprise will combine the best of IoT Core and IoT Enterprise by offering several new features in a smaller footprint on both x64 and ARM64 hardware. Going forward, Windows 10 IoT Enterprise will be the only non-server version of Windows 10 IoT offered.
For devices needing access to the full range of x64 hardware, ARM64 hardware like NXP i.MX8, advanced UX, or have CE applications that can be migrated in one product design iteration, the best option is to move to Windows 10 IoT Enterprise directly. You will be able to begin taking advantage of the features quickly and have the maximum product support lifetime.
Partners in the Early Engineering Access Program can download the latest IoT Enterprise private preview begin development now, and it will be generally available in 2021. Please speak with your Microsoft account manager to join the EEAP program.
For designs that need to leverage ARM32 or have complex CE applications that will require multiple development cycles to migrate, the CE App Container with Windows 10 IoT Core Services offers a solution for gradual migration.
To use the Windows CE App Container, developers place a special ARM32 or x86 Windows Embedded Compact 2013 platform image within their IoT Core system image. They then deploy the resulting Windows 10 IoT Core image on Windows 10 IoT Core compatible hardware. Developers will have access to add functionality, like Azure cloud connectivity or modern peripherals, through the Windows 10 layer and can move portions of the CE application over as well aiming for complete migration before 2029.
With Windows 10 IoT Core Services, you receive licenses for both Windows Embedded Compact 2013 and Windows 10 IoT Core, and the IoT Core OS continue to receive security updates until 2029. And, with capabilities like Device Update Center, OEMs can manage the timing of the OS updates as well as distribute application updates easily.
End of Support is not the end of the road
Finally, for some device builders, they have already created a new modern offering with Windows 10, but not all their customers are ready to upgrade. In these cases, device makers need to continue producing and providing their legacy Windows CE based solutions. This could be because of long term orders, customers needing replacement hardware, etc.
While Windows CE will reach end of extended support in late 2023, Microsoft will allow license sales to continue for Windows Embedded Compact 2013 until 2028. And of course, Windows CE devices can continue to be used indefinitely.
Microsoft has a decades-long history of providing platform technologies and operating systems for device manufacturers and developers to use as part of their embedded solutions. The Windows CE operating system has powered industrial, medical, and a variety of other devices for more than 20 years. With Windows 10 IoT Core Services, Windows 10 IoT Enterprise, and the new Windows CE App Migration technology we’ve developed a path forward to modern operating systems designed for cloud connectivity to enable intelligent workloads. For more information about Windows CE App Migration, please see http://aka.ms/cemigration. For information about the Windows 10 IoT products please see http://www.windowsondevices.com.