Today, I’m pleased to announce the availability of Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5. 

Windows Embedded Handheld is the platform that powers enterprise handheld devices. Businesses such as retailers, delivery companies and others that rely on handheld computers depend on Windows Embedded Handheld to run critical business applications in an environment which integrates well with the rest of their systems, making them easy and efficient to use and to maintain. These devices provide mobile workers with access to real-time information such as inventory, product information and pricing; and they help improve customer responsiveness and sales effectiveness, and secure business-critical data.

Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 is built on Windows Mobile 6.5, leveraging that operating system’s capabilities for connectivity, rich applications, security and management. Mobile device makers using Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 will find a familiar, consistent development platform that helps speed time-to-market.

These device makers can take advantage of Windows Mobile 6.5’s large community of hardware and software vendors, which supply a wide variety of off-the-shelf and custom solutions. By delivering end-to-end solutions for device operating system needs such as data/voice connectivity, manufacturers can focus their efforts on providing the features their customers need most, and which differentiate their devices in the market. 

Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 is also more flexible than ever: Device makers can take advantage of multiple screen sizes and input methods, peripherals to extend device capabilities and multiple connectivity options.

Because we are committed to the success of device manufacturers who have been developing on Windows Embedded Handheld to date, we are extending the support lifecycle for Windows Embedded Handheld to align with the typical five to seven-year lifecycle of business applications in the enterprise. Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 mainstream support runs through December 2014, and extended support runs through December 2019.

Microsoft partners, including Intermec, Motorola and Honeywell, continue to build devices for their customers using either the Windows Embedded CE or Windows Mobile platform. I’m excited by the tremendous response we’ve already received from them to develop next generation devices with Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 — and I’m sure you’ll be excited to hear their announcements about what they’ll be doing with the new features and functionality that are now available to them. For now, I’ll share what they’ve told us about the announcement:

Andy Stento, senior director, Global ISV Program at Intermec, said, “Enterprise customers require consistency and predictability from operating systems, coupled with rugged and reliable hardware. The evolution of the OS market is definitely taking shape, and Microsoft Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 is the standard that we are proud to feature on our next generation platform to deliver the operational efficiency and lower total cost of ownership that businesses need today.” Below is an image of the Intermec 70 series of devices.

“With the announcement of the Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 platform, we are excited to continue our collaboration with Microsoft in the enterprise handheld device market,” said Suhas Uliyar, chief solutions architect for mobile computing, Motorola Solutions. “Microsoft and Motorola Solutions will continue to provide leadership and innovation to the mobile enterprise industry through reliable, rich, and connected handheld experiences.” That's the Motorola ES400 Enterprise Digital Assistant to the left.

“Honeywell and Microsoft have a long-standing history of delivering industry-leading mobile devices that improve worker productivity,” said Greg Payne, director, Mobility Systems, Honeywell Scanning and Mobility. “We recognize the improved connectivity and rich applications that will be available with Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 and look forward to utilizing the platform for our future mobility product line." Honeywell's Dolphin 9900 Mobile Computer can be seen below.

According to analyst firm VDC Research, Microsoft is the leader in providing a platform for creating software solutions that power ruggedized handheld terminals and devices: Microsoft Windows Embedded CE and Windows Mobile 6 operating systems accounted for 87 percent of the approximately 2.3 million ruggedized handheld devices shipped in 2009.

The team at Windows Embedded is excited to continue building on its commitment to help companies that rely on handheld terminals and ruggedized devices to thrive in today's global marketplace by offering them innovative products through our partners. I encourage you to keep an eye on the Windows Embedded News Center for news about the Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 platform (including updates from the National Retail Federation’s 2011 BIG Show), and follow the team at @MSFTWEB on Twitter.

Posted by David Wurster
Senior Product Manager, Windows Embedded