Is the Sky Falling for Windows Embedded Users?

Published on 6/11/2018

Windows vs AndroidThere’s so much information flying around about the impending end for Microsoft’s® family of embedded operating systems, and it’s true, they are going away. However, a lot of the information that is being put out there is being somewhat skewed, possibly with an agenda….one that might cause concern with someone that is currently using devices that run either Windows® CE or Windows Embedded Compact. Someone using these devices might be so concerned that they begin to replace their current devices, even if they aren’t that old, for fear that they will be rendered useless in the near future. And the thought of buying new devices with these operating systems would, of course, be out of the question.

The problem is in how the information is being presented. We keep hearing the term “End of Life”, which one would think implies the date on which the product is no longer available. However, the date being connected with the term “End of Life”, is almost always the date on which the OS will no longer be supported, meaning there will be no more updates or enhancements.

For example, all over the internet, it is being commonly reported that Windows CE 6.0 Pro will be “End of Life” on June 10, 2018. This is patently not true. Extended Support for Windows CE 6.0 Pro will end on that date. That means no more updates or enhancements. The true EOL date for Windows CE 6.0 Pro is February 28, 2022…43 months later. This is the date when licenses for Windows CE 6.0 Pro can no longer be purchased, so OEMs can no longer make new devices running this OS. One can see how putting a little slant on how they are defining “End of Life” might prompt a little panic in current users of embedded operating systems.

Wait there’s more... Even when February 28, 2022 comes and goes, it doesn’t mean that these devices are no longer usable. They aren’t just going to stop working. This is not another Y2K episode. They will continue to work just fine, and if they do break and need to be serviced, it’s not a problem. The device can be repaired and put back into the field and then it’s business as usual.

It’s important to fact-check the information that’s being put out there about Microsoft embedded operating systems, but it’s indisputable that they are going away. Current users should be investigating and making plans to migrate to other platforms. Android™ is really the only choice, especially if the mobile device user is in an industrial environment that requires any degree of durability. iOS devices are intended for the consumer market and are ticking time bombs when deployed in a warehouse or manufacturing plant. The key takeaway here is that you probably have more time than you are being led to believe you have. Seek out the truth about the longevity of your current embedded OS, start looking at Android devices, and then develop a migration strategy. Just don’t panic. The sky is falling slower than you might think.

Not sure when the true End-Of-Life date is for your Windows CE handheld? Contact us and we can help (sales@amltd.com).

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