Microsoft will take a big step into non-PC space when it launches Windows CE 2.0 this fall. While the initial version of Windows CE was geared only at "PC companions" that Microsoft called Handheld PCs, CE 2.0 will target a wide range of devices such as:

  • embedded devices with no user interface
  • Handheld PCs similar to today's models
  • palmtop organizers and beepers
  • mini-notebooks with 24-bit color VGA displays
  • automobile navigation systems
  • Windows terminals connected to NT Server machines on a network
Now that CE has moved beyond the limited handheld market, it will be competing with Sun's upcoming Embedded Java, a low-end version of the Java run-time environment that will be used in embedded devices. Sun has already announced a handful of vendors that will use Embedded Java in consumer electronic devices.

Windows CE, however, is already a generation ahead of Java and is also supported by numerous vendors. CE 2.0 supports printing, TCP-IP, and will include Pocket Visual Basic, which enables form and ActiveX scripting.

Developers can write CE 2.0 applications in Visual Basic, Visual J++, and Visual C++ (C and MFC/C++). Also, CE shares the Windows look and feel with Windows 9x and NT. It will also use Internet Explorer 4.0