Microsoft has unveiled a new version of its Windows 7 operating system that can be embedded into OEM devices from thin client PCs and specialised devices like digital TVs and set top boxes, the company said.
Industry analyst firm Strategy Analytics estimates the potential market opportunity for connected STBs, digital video recorders, digital media adapters and flat-panel TVs to experience annual growth of more than 50pc through 2014, expanding from 40 million units to more than 360 million.
More than 10pc of all PCs worldwide are running Windows 7 today, making Windows 7 by far the fastest-selling operating system in history. On its day of launch in October, the operating system overtook Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows to become the biggest pre-ordered item of all time in the UK, according to Amazon.
“With the release of Windows Embedded Standard 7, Microsoft has furthered its commitment to the integration of Windows 7 technologies in the specialised consumer and enterprise device markets by providing OEMs with the latest innovative technologies to differentiate through rich, immersive user experiences and streamlined connectivity,” said Kevin Dallas, general manager of the Windows Embedded Business Unit at Microsoft.
“The addition of the Windows Media Center feature in Windows Embedded Standard 7 is driving the set-top box, connected media device and TV markets by providing OEMs with opportunities to develop uniquely branded experiences and service providers with capabilities to explore additional revenue streams with unique content through a centralised media hub in the home.”
About Windows Embedded Standard 7
Announced in September 2009 during the community technology preview, Windows Embedded Standard 7 helps OEMs build enterprise devices with seamless connectivity, allowing companies to extend their existing investments in management and network infrastructure.
The platform also features the latest Windows technology innovations to drive rich, immersive user experiences, including multigesture touch interfaces and context-aware applications with Windows Touch, and the ability to develop “green” solutions with smart power management APIs.
In addition to support for enterprise devices, STBs, CMDs and TVs built on Windows Embedded Standard 7 and leveraging the Windows Media Center feature will enable consumers to merge multimedia content from disparate sources, including internet and broadcast TV, social media portals, and personal libraries of photos, music and videos, into a centralised home entertainment hub. Information can easily be shared across Windows-based PCs and individual devices.
Microsoft says OEMs can take advantage of this opportunity by coupling Windows Media Center and additional features within Windows Embedded Standard 7, such as Windows Defender and Parental Controls for heightened security, to create differentiated consumer entertainment devices with integrated user experiences.
This includes leveraging the customisable, extensible platform in Windows Media Center for content, services and applications, as well as powerful back-end support for metadata, TV listings and content providers.
By John Kennedy
Photo: Could Windows 7 soon be embedded on consumer devices, like the next generation of digital TVs coming our way?