Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.
Re: What is Windows CE?
Author: Mike Murry Posted: 5/9/1999; 1:26:13 PM Topic: What is Windows CE? Msg #: 5902 (In response to 5896) Prev/Next: 5901 / 5903
How much different is software for Windows CE? Why is it different at all?
This question is more a matter of interpretation. I believe that it has its roots in the PDA market. Here PalmOS is the undisputed winner. Windows CE doesn't work as well, and the PDA hardware it runs on isn't as popular. If Microsoft can get WinCE running on millions of STBs then people who want a PDA might be more likely to get a a WinCE-based device because they will, of course communicately easily with each other. And even if no one wants a PDA, having all those STBs running WinCE is going to meaning a lot of money for licensing, etc.
As for the software, it is a lot different. Think about the kinds of apps that run on the Newton and Palm - calendar, todo list, notes, address book, email, no frills web browsing. This is the kind of software that runs on WinCE. The interface looks almost exactly like the desktop version of Windows, so there isn't much of a learning curve.
I'm not sure what kind of software they expect people to run on a STB, but I would imangine that it would be similiar to the stuff you would run on PDAs.
All this software runs in ROM, so you can't have full-blown desktop os/apps runnning in this little space. In fact, a friend who had programmed for the Mac in the early days, and for the Newton said that working with the Newton was a lot like the early Mac. You had to pay close attention to how much resources your app used or you would write something that was unusable.
So technically, you are right. There is nothing special about Windows CE that makes it a good OS for STBs. There is one company working on making a PC that runs a lite version of Linux, which they will be using to manufature a car radio size box that you can load with MP3s to listen to as you drive. You'll even to able to check your email. I think that the lite OS market is going to be pretty big and everyone just wants to get a piece of it.
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