Microsoft expanding Windows on Devices program

Microsoft wants to put a small version of Windows 8 on more developer boards

Intel's Galileo board running Windows

Intel's Galileo board running Windows

Microsoft is expanding a program to put Windows in smart devices, robots and Internet-connected appliances, following overwhelming response for developer hardware.

The company is currently putting a stripped-down version of Windows 8 on Intel's Galileo development board to bring the OS to a "smaller class of devices," said Colin Murphy, senior technical product manager at Microsoft, during an interview at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.

But the demand for the Galileo board with Windows has exceeded expectations and Microsoft is now looking to put the OS on more boards such as Intel's Galileo 2 and MinnowBoard Max, Murphy said.

"You'll see that evolve. We're working with Intel and other partners putting Windows on those boards," Murphy said. "There's a whole range of boards we'll be investing in."

Microsoft is tapping into the community of enthusiasts -- also called makers -- to come up with ideas on the types of devices in which Windows could be used. With the Galileo board, Microsoft researchers have put the OS in a piano and a robotic refrigerator that can deliver cold drinks. The software company also has provided instructions on making a thermal sensor, smart fan and smart bulb. Microsoft's goal is to link such sensor appliances to the Azure cloud service, where data could be fed and analyzed.

Microsoft has also hinted at releasing developer boards for Windows RT and Phone, through which mobile applications could be written. Murphy declined to comment about that.

Microsoft is also trying to combat the dominance of Linux in the maker community. Popular development boards like Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone run on Linux. Intel's Galileo also runs on a light version of Linux from the Yocto project, but Microsoft has now added Windows support.

The demand for Galileo from the Microsoft developer ecosystem has been overwhelming and that bodes well for putting Windows on smaller devices, Murphy said.

"We only thought we'd get a few numbers, a few thousand people maybe, but it's just blown out of the water," Murphy said.

Investments are also being made in driver development, so components and devices work as soon as they are plugged into developer boards.

Driver development is important and will bring a "desktop user experience for the developer where they plug and play and they can start writing their app for devices," Murphy said.

The idea of developing cool devices may seem like fun, but Microsoft is taking the Windows on Devices program seriously as it looks to expand in the Internet of Things market. The program builds on over a decade of investment in Windows compact and embedded operating systems, and Microsoft now hopes the new OS will lead to a new family of smaller and sophisticated Windows devices.

The newer boards with the slim version of Windows 8 will also provide a fresh look at Windows.

"It's reinvigorating some of the markets we're in today with newer technology and the latest platform updates," Murphy said.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags IDFMicrosofthardware systemsComponentsprocessorsintel

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?