Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday unveiled a version of its Windows XP operating system that will extend the software giant’s flagship product to cash registers, ATMs and other such devices.
Windows XP Embedded, the successor to Windows NT 4.0 Embedded, is a version of the operating system that has been ”componentized”, or broken into thousands of pieces that hardware makers can mix and match to suit their needs, said Keith White, senior director of Microsoft’s embedded and appliance platforms group.
“The reason this is significant is that devices are becoming much smarter, they are becoming connected to the Internet or a company backbone, and companies are demanding more capabilities out of them,” White said in an interview.
XP Embedded supports Microsoft’s Internet and multi-media technologies like its Explorer Web browser, Windows Media audio and video formats and DirectX graphics tools, White said.
XP Embedded consists of some 10,000 components, versus to about 300 for NT 4.0 Embedded, meaning the product will be more versatile in meeting the needs of device makers, White said.
Microsoft is pushing into the embedded space because many of the hundreds of millions of devices ranging from gasoline pumps to casino gaming machines to television set-top boxes are ripe for replacement as their aging proprietary software proves unable to handle demanding new tasks, White said.