Windows CE is getting a development facelift in version 5.0, along with across-the-board improvements in services and device drivers. There's even a new Direct 3D mobile technology interface. No longer using the .Net suffix, Windows CE includes the .Net Compact Framework, which is well supported by the Visual Studio .Net Professional integrated development environment (IDE). Microsoft revealed CE 5.0 at the recent Electronica/ESC 2004 show in San Francisco.
Some new features, like the PlatformBuilder system configuration and deployment tool, address customer requests. Prior Windows CE versions used a command-line interface along with a graphical IDE. Both interfaces provided the most functionality, but the two weren't equal. The new version of the IDE now has a command-line interface. Thus, a single system offers complete functionality for novices through experts. A dozen Fast Start design templates lets developers quickly start on a range of common application systems.
Additions that address reliability include an error-reporting facility similar to that found on the desktop Windows platform and improved security features like 128-bit encryption support. Templates now have all security features enabled by default. Universal Plug-and-Play support and extended wireless support also have been enhanced. Bluetooth and all 802.11 standards aren't incorporated into Windows CE. Windows CE 5.0 pricing starts at $3 per unit.