New Windows CE .Net gets support from Samsung, Via –

Two hardware manufacturers have thrown their support behind the latest version of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows CE .Net operating system, version 4.1, which is expected to be released Tuesday, according to an analyst. Ahead of the launch, Samsung Semiconductor Inc. announced a line of ARM-based processors optimized for the updated OS and Via Technologies Inc. said its Eden processors will support the new OS.

Windows CE .Net is Microsoft's operating system for handheld devices, such as PDAs (personal digital assistants) and smart phones. The new release contains support for file viewers for Microsoft's Office productivity applications, such as Word and Excel, and support for the latest version of IP (Internet Protocol), IPv6.

Microsoft has scheduled a conference call with the head of the Microsoft Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group to announce the release Tuesday, according to Rob Enderle, a research fellow with Giga Information Group Inc.

The update, code-named Jameson, was originally scheduled to be released by the end of this year, according to Microsoft officials speaking at the Embedded Systems Conference in March.

Windows CE .Net 4.1 will allow for improved performance of Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player software on handhelds, Enderle said. Support for IPv6 will allow users of handheld devices to access more Web pages than before, specifically multimedia sites. "(IPv6 support) is insurance to make sure you get the video or audio content you're paying for," he said.

In a show of support for the new OS version, Samsung announced its Arm-based Application Processors in a release Tuesday. Microsoft applications that were once too large or complex to run on handhelds will now work with Windows CE .Net 4.1 and Samsung's forthcoming processors, the company said. Graphics files, such as .gif and .jpg formats, will now be able to be viewed using devices with the new operating system and chips, which are based on processor cores from Arm Ltd.

Arm announced in April at the Embedded Processor Forum that it was preparing a chip design for wireless mobile devices.

Samsung's Application Processor chips include a 2D graphics accelerator, a camera interface, an image scalar, and a color space converter to support IPv6 and multimedia applications.

Via did not release any specific products tailored to the new version of Windows CE but said its Eden processor would support the new OS.

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