Microsoft announced the second beta of Windows XP Embedded, the company's component-based version of XP designed for non-PC devices such as advanced set-top boxes, residential gateways, and retail point-of-sale devices. XP Embedded Beta 2 divides the XP OS into more than 10,000 components so that developers can create custom-tailored solutions with little overhead. Microsoft will introduce this beta release through the Windows XP Embedded Technology Preview Program, which will broadly distribute this technology for the first time.

"We are excited to deliver a milestone in the development process by releasing Windows XP Embedded Beta 2 broadly to our customers and partners," said Bill Veghte, vice president of Microsoft's Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group. "The Windows XP Embedded Technology Preview will enable embedded developers to get a head start on their new designs by allowing them to create full-featured runtime images with all the capabilities of our next-generation desktop OS, Windows XP, and at the same time, to provide us with valuable feedback to ship a rock-solid product."

New features in XP Embedded Beta 2 include enhanced security through the Encrypting File System (EFS), IP Security (IPSec), Kerberos, and Windows File Protection (WFP); support for full hot-swap through the CompactPCI bus; the same broad device support found in Windows XP Professional, including support for IEEE-1394 and USB 2.0; Internet Explorer (IE) 6; Windows Media Player 8 (WMP 8); DirectX 8.1; seamless connectivity through protocols such as IPv6, Infrared Data Association (IrDA), UPnP, 802.11, Terminal Server Client, VPN, Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP), and PPTP; support for Remote Desktop; and a new set of developer tools that includes Target Designer, Component Designer, Target Analyzer, and Database Manager. For more information about XP Embedded and the preview program, visit the Microsoft Web site.