Microsoft ships new beta version of Windows CE upgrade

Microsoft Corp. yesterday announced the second beta-test release of a planned Windows CE operating system upgrade and said the final version is still due for shipment by year's end.

Code-named Talisker, the upgrade of Microsoft's operating system for mobile and embedded applications is supposed to include new development wizards and increased support for wireless technologies. Also being added as part of the Beta 2 release is support for Microsoft's Internet Explorer 5.5 browser, the company said.

Windows CE is a less bulky version of Microsoft's desktop and server operating systems. The first beta version of Talisker was released in April to about 300 developers (see story), and Microsoft said the new code will be made available on a more widespread basis through a series of early-release programs.

Developers can download a free "emulation edition preview" of Talisker to a PC running Windows 2000 Professional, or the soon-to-be-released Windows XP Professional, and then build and test applications with a set of tools that emulate the operating system as it would appear on a mobile device, the company said.

Microsoft is also selling more full-fledged copies of Talisker on CDs and DVDs for the cost of delivering the materials. That version, referred to as a "technology preview," includes the tools and software needed to build applications for the devices that will run the operating system, according to Microsoft.

In addition, Microsoft has set up a "rapid development program," under which it will gather technical feedback from technology vendors and users who are actively developing applications based on the Talisker beta releases. Companies already taking part include Siemens AG, Wyse Technology Inc. and Intermec Technologies Corp., Microsoft said.

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