Microsoft Pushes CE Development With 'Talisker'

Microsoft released the second beta of "Talisker," the latest version of Windows CE, Monday. Talisker Beta 2 will be the final test release before the final version of the software is issued at the end of the year.

Available as free download or for the cost of shipping a CD, Talisker is Microsoft's first open beta of an embedded operating system. The downloadable image is in the form of an emulator, allowing developers to more easily begin working on the new OS without having to first purchase additional hardware, and runs on Windows 2000 or Windows XP.

Microsoft Product Manager Megan Kidd told BetaNews the update to Windows CE is, "on target for release by the end of the year."

New wireless networking is a major highlight of the software, incorporating compatibility with 802.1x networking. These features will allow a user to seamlessly roam between their intranet to the public network at the neighborhood Starbucks.

On wireless data security, Kidd said, "[security is] a concern that a lot of people have when addressing these devices, and 802.1x has additional security. You wouldn't want someone walking onto the Microsoft campus and accessing our intranet with their wireless devices."

Talisker will additionally feature new Internet technologies including Internet Explorer 5.5; although by the time Talisker is released Internet Explorer 6 will be available on the desktop.

Talisker will also cater to the office environment with several users sharing the same handheld device, perhaps in industrial applications. User profiles will allow various personnel to each have their customized application set and personalized settings easily applied when they obtain the device from another user.

With full support for ARM, MIPS, SHx, and x86 microprocessors, Microsoft upped the ante in its battle with Palm and has begun pushing the Talisker Rapid Development Program to collaborate with companies creating CE-based applications. Palm announced a similar program and added hardware support for its Palm OS platform late last month.

Nate Mook and David Worthington contributed to this report.

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