Microsoft will unveil Windows CE 2.1 next week at the Windows CE developers conference in San Jose. Windows CE 2.1 adds support for new processors, ISA Ethernet, Universal Serial Bus (USB), and network printing. Current Windows CE devices will not be upgradeable to 2.1 initially, although that may change eventually.

"Win CE 2.1 is not a major upgrade for the Handheld PC, PalmPC or AutoPC. There are, however, new capabilities for an embedded developer," said Doug Dedo, group product manager for Windows CE.

Windows CE 2.1 is geared toward Windows-based terminal networks and a new class of sub-notebooks code-named "Jupiter".

New processor support includes support for the ARM 720T, Hitachi SH4, Digital StrongARM SA-1100, IBM PowerPC 403GC, and NEC's VR4111 and VR4300. Microsoft is also offering support for FAT32 formatting on hard drives, making Jupiter sub-notebooks more like Windows 95 systems.