There's a chance that you're reading this in Denver after a long day at the Windows CE DevCon. This marks our second annual Windows CE issue, and as we went to press many new Windows CE developments were occurring. For one reason or another (which we won't go into) some of this information didn't make it into our three featured articles. Indeed, there is even material that we're not at liberty to divulge in this last moment penning of the editor's notefar be it from us to spoil any keynote surprise.|
Proposed for Windows CE version 2.12 is a new feature that allows the operating system to be dynamically upgraded on the device. A tool called the Dialup Bootloader (or DUB) is provided as sample code in the Platform Builder. OEMs will hopefully jump on the covered wagon and customize DUB to suit their customers' needs. The DUB app would exist in ROM with the intent to fully upgrade the OS image (NK.BIN) either remotely or locally. The DUB is not designed to upgrade individual OS components, but rather the whole kit and caboodle. None of us want DLL Hell for Windows CE. Microsoft Windows CE, Handheld PC Professional Edition, Version 3.0 will also include DUB and support for multiple XIP (execute-in-place) partitions for those requiring per-file upgrade granularity.
For the low-level Nerditorium fans, Windows CE 3.0 is expected to support the IEEE 1394 serial bus, also known as Firewire. Firewire is designed for digital camcorders, cameras, videodisc players, and other high-bandwidth computer devices. Up to 63 devices can be connected to one bus, and up to 1023 buses can be interconnected to form a very large network housing over 64,000 devices. Hmm? Now really, whose utility belt is that big? Support for the Universal Disk Format (UDF) file system is also slated for Windows CE 3.0. This means access to DVD and CD-ROM devices. Also expected is a generic ATAPI driver that will facilitate communication with any file system (UDF, FAT, or IFS) and bus type (PCMCIA, ISA, or PCI).
Universal Plug-n-Play (UPnP) and Internet Connection Sharing are scheduled to arrive with Windows CE 3.0, which will advance the home networking front. Among the features included with UPnP is Automatic IP addressing (APAPI). Don't ask how we arrived at that acronym. Complete acronym breakdown was bound to happen sooner or later. It also includes Simple Service Discovery Protocol (SSDP) and a lightweight XML parser. In the absence of a DHCP server, APAPI allows the Windows CE-based device to assign itself a network address. SSDP enables devices to announce their presence and services on the network and request information about other services available on the network. While Windows CE 2.12 currently has an XML parser, Windows CE 3.0 will offer a very lightweight XML parser to allow even very small devices to utilize SSDP.
Shipping in beta form for Windows CE 3.0, Internet Connection Sharing comes with Network Address Translation (NAT), which enables devices on a private network using private IP addresses to access the Internet through the NAT device. A DHCP allocator is provided to assist in gating the resulting traffic to the NAT device.
Segueing abruptly to the close of our ednote, Windows CE 3.0 has so much to offer that we're surprised it still has control over its size. Following Harel Kodesh's keynote lead, we see so much in the crystal ball for the future of Windows CE. Not just in your conference goodies, but every month; look to MSDN, MIND, and MSJ to keep you posted on the latest Windows CE advancements.
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